Boston College 75, N.C. State 66: Hot-Handed Eagles Doom Wolfpack

CHESTNUT HILL - Boston College shot an uncharacteristic 34.6% from the field in the first half, allowing N.C. State to hang in the game throughout much of the opening half.

Yet the Eagles found their stroke in the final minutes, making 5-of-5 shots in the closing five minutes en route to a 75-66 victory over ACC rival North Carolina State on Tuesday night at Conte Forum.

"I told the guys it was our best win of the season," said Eagles coach Steve Donahue. "There was a lot of grind, league play to that game. I was just really proud of these guys. To me, they took a huge step in ownership of this team."

The win was Boston College's second in a row and third straight win against an ACC opponent this season.

"[It feels] great," Eagles junior guard Reggie Jackson said about the Eagles' perfect start in conference play. "We knew we had a solid core coming back, we just had to get acclimated with the coach. I feel like we've done a great job. 3-0, I'll take it."

Jackson led all scorers with 29 points for Boston College. Corey Raji had 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench, Biko Paris scored 12 points and Joe Trapani added nine points and 12 rebounds for the Eagles.

"Obviously Reggie was so consistent throughout the whole night, but everybody else stepped up when they needed to," said Donahue.

Tracy Smith paced the Wolfpack attack, scoring 18 points. C.J. Leslie scored 15 points and collected nine rebounds, Scott Wood scored 12 points and Ryan Harrow totaled 11 points for NCSU.

Boston College (13-4, 3-0 ACC) jumped in front, 10-4, by the 16:24 mark of the first half. During the game-opening run, BC made two three-pointers and two lay-ups. N.C. State (11-5, 1-1 ACC) cut the lead to three, 12-9, by the 15 minute mark.

The Eagles countered with a 10-2 run to build the lead up to 22-11 with 10:53 remaining. Once again, the Wolfpack chipped away at the lead, closing out the half on a 15-8 run to cut BC's lead to two, 28-26, at the intermission.

"When we got up 20-11, I thought we had five or six really good looks," Donahue said. "Even though they were a little quick, I thought we had opportunities where we just missed easy ones where we really could have stretched the game. Then we just settled in, we just settled for one pass and a shot, and we haven't done that in ages."

Jackson had the hot hand for BC in the first half, draining 4-of-6 shots (2-of-4 threes). However, his teammates weren't as successful from the field, as the Eagles shot a dismal 34.4% (11-of-32) from the field and made 4-of-14 long balls.

"No, not at all," Jackson said when asked if BC changed its approach after its poor shooting in the first half. "We don't look at statistics. The way coach comes in the locker room, I'm pretty sure he probably doesn't either. He just tells us to go out there and do what we do every day in practice."

Both teams traded baskets throughout the first ten minutes of the second half, with BC holding a 50-44 advantage heading into the final ten minutes. 

Trailing by one, 56-55, with five minutes left, the Eagles went on a 12-3 run to take a 69-63 lead with 1:08 remaining. In that stretch, Jackson hit a layup and Paris and Raji combined to hit three straight three-pointers.

Josh Southern (five points, six rebounds) hit a pair of free throws to put BC up 71-63 with 1:07 left. Leslie hit a three with one minute left to bring N.C. State within five, but Trapani threw down a dunk on a breakaway with 56 second left to rebuild the lead to seven points, 73-66. Jackson hit two free throws with 34 seconds left to seal the win. 

"I'm very impressed, with Biko particularly," said Jackson. "With the whole team, now looking at the stats, we didn't really have a great shooting night, but I could never tell the way everybody was letting it go. Those were great shots, great looks at the end."

BC shot 44.3% from the field and connected on 9-of-23 three-pointers (39.1%) in the win. The Wolfpack managed a 44.4% clip from the floor while making 5-of-15 threes and 5-of-12 free throws.

The Eagles collected 38 rebounds (11 offensive) and finished with 15 assists, four steals, three blocks and eight turnovers. N.C. State amassed 37 boards (13 offensive) and had 12 assists, two steals, four blocks and eight turnovers.

Boston College finished its three-game home stand at 2-1. The Eagles are on the road to face conference opponent Miami (FL) on Saturday at 6 p.m. EST (ESPNU). N.C. State will also be in action on Saturday, playing Florida State.

NOTES

Boston College moves to 8-3 in the all-time series and 5-3 in conference play against N.C. State...Since joining the ACC, BC has started the season 13-4 three times. This is also the third occasion since the 2005-06 campaign that the Eagles have started 3-0 in conference...BC head coach Steve Donahue has guided his teams to 3-0 starts in conference play in each of the last four seasons...Junior guard Reggie Jackson led all players with 29 points - the second most of his career - to post the 50th double-digit scoring game of his career and registered his ACC-best 14th consecutive game with 10 or more points...Senior forward Joe Trapani added 14 points and eight boards.

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