After a shocking loss to Rhode Island on Wednesday, Boston College was in danger of losing two straight games for the first time this season entering its contest with South Carolina on New Year's Day.
Yet strong outings from Joe Trapani (23 points, nine rebounds), Biko Paris (18 points) and Reggie Jackson (14 points, six rebounds) put the Eagles back on track in their 85-70 win over the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C.
"Against a very athletic yet young team, I just thought we played with great poise and toughness on both sides of the ball," said Boston College head coach Steve Donahue. "That was our best defensive effort. We played mostly man-to-man, and I thought all the guys were really locked in. We shared the ball offensively."
The Eagles (11-3), who were shooting 39.6% from long distance entering Saturday's game, made 13-of-32 three pointers (40.6%) in the win. Boston College shot 51.6% (33-of-65) from the field and hit 6-of-10 free throws. The Eagles finished the game with 41 rebounds, 23 assists, four steals and 14 turnovers.
"The key is we knew we needed to defend their threes and we did not do what we needed to do in that area," said South Carolina head coach Darrin Horn. "We can find some individual positives with some individual players. I thought our offensive flow was a little bit better. At the end of the day, we keep saying it, we're going to keep saying it, we have to defend and rebound for us to be our best and we didn't do that to the level we needed to against a really good Boston College team tonight."
Corey Raji led the Eagles' bench in scoring with 16 points. Danny Rubin added nine points, Gabe Moton had three points and Josh Southern finished with two points and two rebounds.
South Carolina (8-4) wasn't as lucky offensively, making only 26-of-68 field goals (38.2%), 7-of-26 threes (26.9%) and 11-of-19 free throws. The Gamecocks amassed 27 rebounds, 12 assists, 11 steals and had seven turnovers in the loss. Sam Muldrow was held scoreless, missing all six of his shot attempts in 18 minutes.
"I think the biggest thing is them understanding that our team needs to be about defending and rebounding, the other stuff we can work through," Horn said. "I think offensively that happened tonight. I thought tonight was the best the guys played within themselves and within their roles...It's everybody's role to defend and rebound and I don't think that happened as well tonight."
Bruce Ellington led the Gamecocks in scoring with 21 points. Ramon Galloway scored 15 points, Malik Cooke had 13 points and Lakeem Jackson added 12 points for South Carolina.
Boston College held a slim 16-15 lead ten minutes into the first half but used a 28-15 run in the final ten minutes to take a 44-31 lead into halftime. The Eagles remained red-hot in the second half and built the lead to 27, 77-50, with 7:39 left in the game.
Boston College returns home to face in-town foe Harvard in its next game on Wednesday, January 5th at 7 p.m.