Barclays Center—The first time Pitt men’s basketball played Boston College on the hardwood, forward John Hugley was unstoppable. He scorched them for 32 points and 13 boards while making 15 of 20 attempts from the free-throw line.
BC suffocated Hugley for two halves and he struggled with foul trouble against the Eagles (12-19 overall, 7-19 ACC), who used a 25-6 run that spanned to run away with a 66-46 victory over Pittsburgh (11-21 overall, 6-15) in the first round of the ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center. The loss marked the Panthers’ second consecutive first-round conference tournament exit.
“I thought when Hugley picked up his second foul, that’s when the game changed,” Pitt coach Jeff Capel said. “We didn’t have a guy that we could go to inside that we felt could draw double teams, get other guys shots. And we were in incredible foul trouble … And so we had some lineups out there that we really hadn’t played with or practiced with.”
Hugley was hot from the start of the contest. He drained jump shots all over the court utilizing the pump fake to score his first eight points quickly but fizzled out in the second.
The Panthers played the Eagles close and even took leads at both the 13:20 and 4:52 mark of the first half. Pitt led 22-21 with just under five minutes to go after forward Mouhamadou Gueye hit a deep 3-pointer from the right wing.
BC went on a 12-0 run that gave them a 33-22 lead going to the break, which they did not relinquish. They didn’t miss a beat in the second half, scoring 13 of the period’s first 17 points. The Panthers didn’t get any closer than 10 for the rest of the contest.
Boston College was efficient for the free throws line hitting 3 of 4 free with 18:21 left in the second half following flagrant and technical fouls to push its lead to 36-23. The Eagles had a chance at a six-point possession but Quinten Post’s wide open 3-pointer from the corner was short. Pitt did not make a field goal for the final 4 minutes, 50 seconds of the first half. John Hugley ended the drought with a jumper from the free-throw line with 13:48 remaining in the game.
Sophomore guard DeMarr Langford Jr. mentioned he could begin to see the game unraveling at the break. When the Panthers didn’t score in the final five minutes of the first half, Langford and the Eagles saw blood in the water and pounced.
“I kind of saw it was breaking away at the four-minute mark of the second half,” Langford said. “I think at that point they had 22 points and they ended the half with 22 points. … We played aggressive and it gave them a little bit of a shock, I guess.”
James Karnik poured in 13 points, DeMarr Langford added 12 points, Boston College used two huge runs (25-6, 25-3) to finish off Pittsburgh in the second half of the ACC tournament.
“Through the close losses, the heartbreaking losses, we continued to fight and because of that we got better,” Capel said. “And we showed glimpses of what we could possibly be. We were just never able to be consistent with it. It’s just we’ve come up very, very short.”
The Panthers closed the season on a five-game losing streak — with 20-plus-point blowouts to Miami, Duke, Notre Dame, and BC.
Hugley finished the contest with 15 points for Pitt. Mouhamadou Gueye chipped in 12 points and Jamarius Burton had 10.