Rebounding woes held Louisville men’s basketball back Tuesday as the Cardinals’ season came to a close with an 80-62 loss to Boston College in the first round of the 2023 New York Life ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Louisville (4-28) allowed 14 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points to the Eagles, including 11 offensive boards and 13 second-chance points in the second half.
That allowed Boston College (16-16) to overcome UofL’s three-point halftime lead and advance to Wednesday’s second round.
“They brought great energy, great physicality to the game, toughness,” Louisville head coach Kenny Payne said of the Eagles. “The stuff they did to us around the basket, offensive rebounding, to score 49, basically 50 points in the second half, that was the difference in the game. I thought they competed. I thought at times they were the aggressor for most of the second half, and they put us on our heels and made us look bad because they played with more fire, more toughness, more fight than we did.”
An 8-0 run by Boston College gave the Eagles a 25-15 lead at the 5:56 mark of the first half.
Louisville answered with its own 10-0 spurt, including seven made free throws, to tie it at 25-all with 3:24 to play.
Senior guard El Ellis finally put the Cardinals back in front with a three-point play to make it 32-31, and sophomore forward Brandon Huntley-Hatfield added a putback with five seconds left to make it a 34-31 advantage at the break.
Huntley-Hatfield had 11 points in the first half, including Louisville’s first six of the game. The Cardinals made 12 of 15 free throws in the opening 20 minutes.
Louisville still led 45-43 with 15:55 remaining after a dunk by junior forward JJ Traynor, but the Eagles rattled off a 12-3 burst to take a 55-48 lead. Boston College got multiple baskets off offensive rebounds from there to stay in front.
“I would say in the first half, we had more energy, and we were playing harder and getting in the lane,” Traynor said. “That was working for us. In the second half, we didn’t get in the lane as much, and at the point you’re talking about their energy just exceeded ours, and they just started getting in the paint, getting on the free-throw line, and that led to the lead.”
Boston College outrebounded UofL 40-29. Makai Ashton-Langford led the Eagles with 16 points and five rebounds.
Ellis had 16 points and five assists to pace Louisville. Huntley-Hatfield added 13 points, and Traynor finished with 12 points and seven boards.