CHESTNUT HILL - After losing to in-town rival Harvard on Wednesday, Boston College needed a win heading into Saturday's ACC clash with Georgia Tech.
While it wasn't a must-win situation for the Eagles, a loss would have discredited BC's strong start this season.
Reggie Jackson made sure that wasn't the case, scoring a game-high 24 points en route to Boston College's 86-75 win over the Yellow Jackets at Conte Forum.
"I thought Reggie did a terrific job as well, just being a leader," said Boston College head coach Steve Donahue. "He's had two great practices and I thought we responded very well and got great efforts from almost everybody that played."
Corey Raji added 22 points and nine rebounds off the bench for Boston College. Joe Trapani scored six points and collected nine rebounds, Biko Paris had 11 points, Josh Southern scored eight points and Danny Rubin added six points for the Eagles.
"I thought for the most part the defensive end in the second half for us was the key, when we started getting some serious stops [and] made them shoot over us," Donahue said. "I thought we did a very good job."
Kammeon Holsey scored 18 points to lead Georgia Tech. Iman Shumpert finished with 15 points, Mfon Udofia added 14 points and Glen Rice, Jr. had 12 points for the Yellow Jackets.
BC was 28-for-51 from the field (54.9%) and 9-for-19 from three-point range (47.4%) while Georgia Tech made 30-of-63 shots (47.6%) and hit 5-of-19 threes (26.3%).
Georgia Tech (7-7, 0-1 ACC) jumped to an 8-6 lead with 15:24 remaining in the first half, but Boston College (12-5, 2-0 ACC) fought back and took a 21-14 lead by the 12 minute mark courtesy of three straight shots from beyond the arc.
The Yellow Jackets took a 24-23 lead with 7:42 left, but the Eagles were able to regain their composure and took a 39-39 tie into the intermission.
Boston College connected on 15-of-25 shots (60%) and made 5-of-10 threes while Georgia Tech made 15-of-28 field goals (53.6%) and 4-of-10 three-pointers (40%) in the opening half.
The Eagles burst out of the starting gate in the second half, building a 47-43 lead with 18:36 remaining and a 57-47 advantage with nearly 16 minutes left. However, Georgia Tech cut the lead to five, 68-63, with 7:51 left.
"It was 0-0, basically a tied game [at halftime]," said Jackson. "So I tried to pressure the guys that we had to come out quick and get a great start, and obviously we did and we held onto the lead."
With under four minutes left, the Yellow Jackets had trimmed the Eagles' lead to three, 70-67. Josh Southern hit a pair of free throws with 3:53 left to build the BC lead to 72-67. Shumpert answered on the other end with a floater, cutting the lead to two.
"It's been like that my past three years here," Jackson said about giving up the lead late. "We find a way somehow to break away, but then let teams back in it. Once we break away, [we] just [need to] bury teams and get the game over with. We're going to continue to work on it and get better, and keep poise."
Raji's layup with 2:51 left gave BC a 74-69 advantage and some breathing room. After stopping the Yellow jackets on the other end, Trapani was fouled, but missed the first of a one-and-one free throw, giving the ball back to Georgia Tech.
Raji made another layup with 1:38 left, putting BC up 76-69. After a Rubin rebound on the other end, Jackson was fouled and hit both free throws, giving the Eagles a 78-69 lead with 1:14 left.
Paris then nailed one-of-two free throws with one minute left to put BC up by ten, and the Eagles would ultimately hold on for the 11-point victory.
"They shot 41% in the second [half]," said Donahue. "I think for the most part they were shooting hard shots and we were rebounding the ball, and when we do that, we're a very good basketball team. I thought that was the key in terms of strategy."
The Eagles amassed 34 rebounds, 14 assists, six steals and had 14 turnovers while the Yellow Jackets totaled 30 rebounds, 12 assists, seven steals and 13 turnovers.
"It's very uncharacteristic of me," said Jackson, who had seven turnovers. "But the games over with, I have to let it be and learn [from] my mistakes. But I'm satisfied with the win, so I'm not going to complain too much about it."
Boston College is off until Tuesday, when it hosts ACC rival N.C. State at 9:00 p.m. EST. Georgia Tech will face Clemson in South Carolina on Tuesday night.
Boston College improves to 5-8 in the all-time series and 4-4 in conference play with Georgia Tech...Since joining the ACC, BC has started the season 12-4 four times. This is the first time since the 2007-08 campaign that the Eagles have started 2-0 in conference...The Boston College bench matches its season-high 30 points...Eagles head coach Steve Donahue earned his first win against Georgia Tech. At Cornell, he went 0-3 against the Yellow Jackets...BC junior guard Reggie Jackson led BC with 25 points to notch the 49th double-digit scoring game of his career. Jackson went 8-of-9 from the floor and was perfect at the line (6-for-6) and behind the arc (3-for-3).