By KEVIN HARRIS
CARMEL – Indiana Mr. Basketball front-runner Romeo Langford led New Albany to a 59-48 victory over host Carmel on Dec. 16 at the Eric Clark Activity Center.
It was the Bulldogs’ third win in a row since their lone loss of the season at archrival Floyd Central on Dec. 8 in overtime, 49-47.
Below are the five crucial factors in New Albany’s triumph over the Greyhounds:
1. ANOTHER ALL-AROUND EFFORT FROM ROMEO
Despite an off-night shooting the ball, Langford wound up with a game-high 19 points as he ended the weekend in 14th place on Indiana’s all-time boys’ scoring list. The 6-foot-5 guard registered 29 points in the Bulldogs’ 76-33 home win Dec. 15 over Seymour.
Langford was 7-of-20 from the field and 2-of-12 from 3-point range. He grabbed five rebounds, made a game-high four steals and distributed a team-high three assists.
“He just makes plays. We just try to put him someplace where he can make plays,” New Albany head coach Jim Shannon said. “We’ll put him at the point. We’ll put him on the baseline. We’ll run him to the high post. We’ll run him off a ball screen. We’re just always searching to try to get the ball in his hands because he’s so creative and he’s a load to handle.”
2. KEY PLAY BY LANGFORD NOT INCLUDED IN BOX SCORE
The biggest play Langford made in the victory came with 4:25 left in regulation, and it did not show up in the box score.
With the Bulldogs (6-1) leading 43-39, Langford drew a charge on 6-10 Greyhound forward John Michael Mulloy. It was Mulloy’s fifth foul as he left the game with 11 points and a team-high six rebounds.
“He’s just really smart,” Shannon said about his standout. “The (New Albany assistant) coaches had been discussing a couple of possessions before that about making another (defensive) switch (on Mulloy), and I said, ‘No. He’s staying on him.’ I guessed right. Sometimes you guess wrong. It’s just a guess, but it was an educated guess.”
Mulloy scored all 11 of his points in the third quarter to help the Greyhounds (4-3) tie the score at 35 at period’s end. New Albany was up by as much as six points during the stanza. After Mulloy fouled out, New Albany outscored Carmel 16-9 to collect win No. 6 of 2017-18.
Shannon had Bulldog sophomore forwards Trey Hourigan and Julien Hunter guarding Mulloy in the early parts of the contest before having Langford defend the Carmel big man.
“Mulloy started to really hurt us – I mean bad,” Shannon said. “We tried a couple of different things on him. We went with Hourigan and then we went with Julien on him. Then I finally decided I had enough and put Romeo on him. That seemed to be something we should’ve gone to earlier, but you’ve got to be careful not getting him in foul trouble.”
3. FOUL SHOOTING ICES WIN FOR DOGS
In the fourth quarter when New Albany outscored Carmel 24-13, the Bulldogs shot a perfect 17-of-17 from the free-throw line. They knocked down 14 foul shots following Mulloy’s fifth foul. For the game, New Albany was 22-of-24 from the stripe (91.7 percent).
Senior guard Sean East did the most damage at the line in the fourth, connecting on eight free throws.
4. EAST, HOURIGAN, HUNTER PROVIDE SCORING SUPPORT
Langford got lots of support in the scoring column from East, Hourigan and Hunter.
East wound up with 18 points, scoring 10 in the final quarter. He shot 4-of-11 from the field and a spotless 10-of-10 from the line. East also had three assists and two steals.
Hourigan and Hunter each tallied nine points, combining to hit six of their seven field-goal attempts.
Both players had a good night on the boards as well. Hunter grabbed a game-high eight rebounds, while Hourigan had seven.
5. DOGS PERSEVERE AGAIN IN FRONT OF SOLD-OUT CROWD
Once again, New Albany played in front of a capacity crowd with Langford being the star attraction.
Nearly 4,000 spectators witnessed the game as the New Albany players dealt with an inspired Carmel student section. Shannon was impressed with his team’s poise in putting up with the raucous atmosphere.
“It was a great win. I’m really proud of them for being able to withstand a two-hour road trip and play in a tough environment. That was a really smart, well-coached team that they beat tonight. They were really solid,” Shannon said.
* SOIN PREPS STAR: Romeo Langford, New Albany – As usual, Langford’s all-around game was on full display. He registered 19 points, five rebounds, four steals and three assists. But drawing the fifth foul on 6-foot-10 Carmel forward John Michael Mulloy by taking a charge in the fourth quarter was a pivotal play in leading the Bulldogs to the key road win.
NEW ALBANY 59, CARMEL 48
New Albany 8 13 14 24-59
Carmel 11 7 17 13-48
New Albany (6-1): Romeo Langford 7-20 3-3 19, Sean East 4-11 10-10 18, Trey Hourigan 2-2 4-6 9, Julien Hunter 4-5 1-1 9, Darin Starks 0-2 2-2 2, Derrick Stevenson 0-2 2-2 2. Totals 17-42 22-24 59.
Carmel (4-3): Cole Jenkins 7-7 2-2 17, John Michael Mulloy 3-5 5-6 11, Andrew Owens 4-8 0-0 10, Karsten Windlan 3-5 0-0 7, Jalen Whack 1-3 0-0 2, Luke Heady 0-7 1-6 1, Alex Jackson 0-1 0-0 0, Beau Robbins 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-36 8-14 48.
3-point field goals: New Albany 3-17 (Langford 2-12, Hourigan 1-1, Starks 0-1, Stevenson 0-1, East 0-2); Carmel 4-14 (Owens 2-5, Jenkins 1-1, Windlan 1-3, Jackson 0-1, Whack 0-1, Heady 0-3).
Rebounds: New Albany 25 (Hunter 8); Carmel 16 (Mulloy 6).
Assists: New Albany 5 (Langford 3); Carmel 5 (Heady 4).
Steals: New Albany 11 (Langford 4); Carmel 3 (Heady, Jenkins, Mulloy 1).
Blocked shots: New Albany 2 (Langford, Stevenson 1); Carmel 0.
Turnovers: New Albany 6, Carmel 14.
Total fouls: New Albany 14, Carmel 21.
Fouled out: Carmel – Jenkins, Mulloy.
Junior varsity: Carmel 36, New Albany 30.