Boston College 69, Holy Cross 54: Corey Raji, Eagles Topple Crusaders

Corey Raji scored a game-high 15 points as Boston College defeated in-state rival Holy Cross 69-54 at Conte Forum on Monday night. Read more at BC Interruption.

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Boston College 69, Holy Cross 54: Corey Raji, Eagles Topple Crusaders

CHESTNUT HILL - They say home-court advantage does wonders in college basketball, but that's not the case when the school you're playing is 45 minutes down the road.

Right from the tipoff, it was clear that there were plenty of Holy Cross fans in the stands at Conte Forum, and they weren't going to be silent.

But that was no matter for Boston College, which channeled out the opposing noise and took care of business on its home court.

Senior forward Corey Raji, who came off the bench for the first time since February 2008, scored a game-high 15 points as Boston College defeated in-state rival Holy Cross 69-54 at Conte Forum on Monday night.

"We're just trying to take one game at a time," said Raji. "Last game, we didn't come out with enough energy, and the result we weren't happy with. The last three days at practice, we worked really hard, went over out stuff, and tonight, we just came out and did a good job."

The Eagles' performance was a solid step up from their match up with Yale, a game that the Eagles lost 75-67.

"I was disappointed after watching the film about how we went about our business (against Yale), and that's my fault," Donahue said. "I thought we did a great job (tonight). We were really good in practice, and this is far from where we want to be, but it's a great step in the right direction."

Boston College (2-1) had a much better day shooting the basketball than it did against the Bulldogs, making 25-of-57 shots (43.9%) and 10-of-29 three pointers (34.5%).

"We work on shooting every day in practice, but we were just more composed, more patient, and the shots came to us," Raji said. "We weren't hitting them at first, but we had open looks and we started knocking them down."

Most players never want to be removed from the starting lineup, but Raji understands that it's all part of the game.

"We're all a team, so I knew by me not starting, someone else was going to step up," he said.

That player was freshman Danny Rubin, who started in place of Raji, had a career night, scoring a game-high 14 points.

"I was surprised I started," Rubin said. "But that's going to happen as a freshman. Some games I'm not going to get in, and when you do get in, you've just got to be composed and relaxed.

"Danny did a good job tonight," Raji added. "He was really composed and really relaxed, so my hats off to him."

Rubin had a solid game from beyond the arc, draining 4 of 9 3-pointers.

"We work on it every day in practice, so even if I do miss a couple, I know we're all capable of missing two then making five in a row. There's no nervousness when we come out and shoot the ball."

It was Rubin's first career start and his first game action since the Eagles' season-opening win over St. Francis.

"That's one of the things that I was upset with myself about the other night, I didn't play him," Donahue said. "He's been playing well in practice."

Donahue learned that lesson last season at Cornell, after a member of his team, Jon Jaques, played well in practice but wasn't rewarded with playing time.

"John taught me a huge lesson," Donahue said. "He was kicking butt in practice for about a month, and I for some reason wasn't putting him in the game because he's a sub, he's a deep sub. But if you do it in practice, you should be rewarded, and Danny's been doing it in practice,. It's as simple as that."

Joe Trapani and Biko Paris each scored 12 points and Reggie Jackson added nine points for Boston College.

"I think what you see is just a work in progress with this team," said Boston College head coach Steve Donahue. "We're going to have our good days and bad days. We had three really hard practices, an part of it is me trying to figure out what's right for this team and how we're going to play. Not that I don't worry about wins and losses at this point, but I worry about how we play."

R.J. Evans led Holy Cross with 12 points. Andrew Beinert and Devin Brown both scored 11 points for the Crusaders.

Holy Cross (0-4) scored the first two points of the game on senior center Andrew Keister's put back under the rim.

Raji put Boston College on the board on his shot under the hoop with 17:45 to play in the first, tying the game 2-2. The Eagles controlled the next few minutes, as a three-pointer from Rubin and two threes from senior guard Biko Paris put Boston College up 11-6. Then, Reggie Jackson slammed home a dunk to build the Eagles' lead to 13-6 with 14:08 to play in the half.

Down but not out, the Crusaders went on a 9-0 run that started with 13:13 left and ended at the 8:40 mark, when Boston College freshman Gabe Moton tipped in a miss to tie the game at 15.

With the game back in its control, Boston College closed out the half on a 16-8 run that gave the Eagles a 31-26 advantage at the break.Boston College made 11-of-28 shots while Holy Cross made 11-of-29 shots in the first half.

Paris had six points, and both Raji and Jackson added four for the Eagles. Keister had a team-high eight points and both Devin Brown and Andrew Beinert scored five points for the Crusaders.

The Eagles blew the game open early in the second half, using a 12-2 run that started at the 16:48 mark and ended with 12:03 left in the game to take a 48-37 lead. 

Holy Cross did its best to pull back into the game, cutting Boston College's lead to 55-47 with 5:55 remaining, but they were unable to get any closer.

The Crusaders finished the game having made 21-of-49 shots (42.9%) and 6 of 14 3-pointers 42.9%). Holy Cross amassed 29 rebounds, nine assists, three steals and had 12 turnovers.

The Eagles collected 33 rebounds, 16 assists, seven steals and only had five turnovers.

Boston College finished its three-game, season-opening home stand at 2-1. The Eagles are off to face Texas A&M in the first round of the Old Spic Classic on Thanksgiving Day in Orlando, Florida (12 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

"We've just got to go down to Orlando, and we've got Texas A&M first, and we've just got to take that one game at a time," Raji said. "

After that, Boston College will face either Wisconsin or Manhattan the next day (12 p.m./2:30 p.m. ET). If the Eagles advance, they would face Georgia, Notre Dame, Temple or California in the tournament's final round (time TBA).

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Holy Cross Vs. Boston College: Eagles Lead Crusaders 31-26 At Halftime

CHESTNUT HILL - Biko Paris led all scorers with nine points in the first half as Boston College took a 31-26 lead over Holy Cross into halftime at Conte Forum.

Holy Cross scored the first two points of the game on senior center Andrew Keister's put back under the rim.

Senior Corey Raji put Boston College on the board on his shot under the hoop with 17:45 to play in the first, tying the game 2-2. The Eagles controlled the next few minutes, as a three-pointer from freshman Danny Rubin and two threes from senior guard Biko Paris put Boston College up 11-6.

Both teams battled back and forth through the majority of the half, but the Eagles were able to pull away in the final minutes of the first half to take a slim lead at the break,.

Boston College made 11-of-28 shots while Holy Cross made 11-of-29 shots in the first half.

Cortney Dunn had six points, and both Corey Raji and Reggie Jackson added four for the Eagles. Keister had a team-high eight points and both Devin Brown and Andrew Beinert scored five points for the Crusaders.

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Holy Cross Vs. Boston College: Eagles Host In-State Rival Crusaders

History hasn't always been kind to Boston College when it comes to match-ups against Holy Cross.

The Eagles trail the all-time series record 52-57 dating back to the first meeting in the 1905-06 season. However, recent history is on the Eagles' side after they won the last game against the Crusaders Jan. 17, 2006 in Worcester, MA.

Boston College will look to build on that recent success when it hosts Holy Cross at Conte Forum Monday night (7 p.m. ET, WRKO).

It was a milestone game for the Eagles back in 2006, as Craig Smith scored his 2,000th career point in the first half and finished with 19 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead No. 21 Boston College past Holy Cross.

Boston College led 31-27 entering halftime, and the Eagles went on a 9-0 run to start the second half and never looked back. Sean Williams had 13 points and five rebounds and Jared Dudley added 12 points, five rebounds and two steals in the win.

Three players scored in double-digits for the Crusaders. Kevin Hamilton Jr. led the team with 17 points, seven rebound and six steals while Torey Thomas scored 16 points. The Eagles held the Crusaders' leading scorer, Keith Simmons, to two points in 23 minutes. However, Simmons was dealing with cramps all throughout the game.

But that's all a memory now, and Holy Cross will look to avenge that loss tonight. 

The Crusaders (0-3) have been off to a very slow start, falling short in each of their first three games. In its season opener, Holy Cross lost to the College of Charleston 93-84. The Cougars shot an impressive 63.6% from the field (35-of-55) and held the Crusaders to 51.6% shooting (33-of-64).

Mike Cavataio and R.J. Evans led Holy Cross with 16 points a piece. Andrew Keister added 15 points and 10 rebounds in the season-opening loss.

Holy Cross didn't fare any better in its second game against Harvard, losing 72-49 in Cambridge. Harvard's Keith Wright scored 16 of his 18 points in the second half to lead the Crimson past the Crusaders.

Evans had 12 points to lead Holy Cross, which shot an abysmal 25% (6-of-24) in the loss. Without surprise, Evans was the only Crusader to reach the double-digit scoring mark in the game.

The Crusaders made progress in their last game, but ultimately fell 55-52 against New Hampshire in Durham. Holy Cross led 52-51 with 33 seconds left, but UNH's Tyrone Conley buried a three-pointer to give the Wildcats the lead for good.

Holy Cross had two opportunity to knot the score. With 18 seconds left, Devin Brown (team-high 16 points) missed a potential game-tying lay up. Mike Cavataio grabbed Brown's miss but also missed his lay up, dooming the Crusaders.

After calling a timeout with nine seconds remaining, Holy Cross' Andrew Beinert missed the game-tying three pointer, giving the Wildcats the hard-earned victory.

It's certainly been a rough start for Holy Cross, which was the Patriot League's most disappointing team a season ago. The poor finish resulted in the firing of head coach Sean Kearney.

Milan Brown was brought in as Kearney's replacement. Brown led Mount St. Mary to the NCAA  two years ago.

Andrew Keister was expected to pace the Crusaders entering the 2010-11 season after averaging 10.2 points and 8.9 rebounds last year. He led the Patriot league in rebounding a year ago and was also the league's third-best shooter.

So far, Keister has not lived up to the expectation this year, averaging 8.3 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds. He is fourth on the team in scoring behind Devin Brown (12.7 PPG), R.J. Evans (11.0 PPG) and Mike Cavataio (9.7 PPG).

Boston College (1-1), which won its season opener 79-49 against St. Francis but lost to Yale 75-67, has been working out the kinks under new head coach Steve Donahue.

The Eagles looked energetic and moved like a well-oiled machine in their season opening win against the Terriers but appeared lethargic and uninterested at point in their loss to the Bulldogs last Thursday. Needless to say, Donahue hopes that they will return to their season-opening form on Monday night.

Boston College's star trio of senior Joe Trapani, senior Corey Raji and junior Reggie Jackson have proven to be the Eagles' go-to group once again.

Jackson leads the team in scoring (23.5 PPG) and is shooting 50% on the season. Trapani is second in scoring with 15 points per game and leads the Eagles in rebounding with seven boards per game. Raji also has seven rebounds per game and has proven to be a versatile swingman, averaging 14.5 points on 66.7% shooting.

Freshman Danny Rubin has been a bright spot for Boston College early in the season, averaging nine points and two rebounds in the Eagles first two game.

With two games under their belt, the Eagles should be able to take care of business against Holy Cross, but only if they get into the game early and maintain the pace.

Performances like the one against Yale will not cut it.

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