Boston College 58, Virginia Tech 56: Eagles Fend Off Hokies

CHESTNUT HILL - Reggie Jackson knew how important Saturday's game against Virginia Tech was. In essence, it was a much win situation. Win, and Boston College still had a shot at the NCAA tournament. Lose, and that would be the end of the Eagles' tournament dreams.

That being the case, Jackson and company were not going to let this one slip away. It went down to the final seconds and took an entire team effort, but in the end Jackson's squad emerged with a much-needed, hard-fought win, 58-56, over the Hokies at Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon.

"A lot," Jackson said when asked how much his team needed this win. "If we didn't win this, we're probably not significant in the league anymore ]and] probably don't have a chance to go to the big dance. We needed this to boost our confidence, our egos and get back on the right track."

Jackson finished with 10 points and four assists after being held scoreless through the first 30 minutes. Regardless of Jackson's poor start, the Eagles (15-8, 5-4 ACC) held a slim 27-24 advantage at halftime, and Jackson finished the game 4-of-13 from the field after going 0-for-3 in the first half.

"We were up, Joe was getting us going, everybody was contributing," said Jackson. "I really could care less [about my scoring]. I just want to win."

Joe Trapani lead the Eagles with 14 points and nine rebounds. Josh Southern chipped in with a solid performance in the post, totaling seven points and five rebounds. Biko Paris scored eight points and Corey Raji added five points and eight rebounds for BC.

"We were fortunate, but I think we played hard [defense], so I think we deserve this win, too," Trapani said.

The Eagles shot 44% from the floor while making 7-of-20 threes (35%). BC racked up 32 rebounds (25 defensive), 11 assists, six blocks and two steals while turning the ball over eight times.

"I thought we did a terrific job for most of the game on the defensive end, with the exception of the offensive rebounds," said Eagles head coach Steve Donahue. "I'm just really proud of how we came back and played defense, mostly man, [we were] solid, [had] great communication, and then executed for the most part on the offensive end."

Jeff Allen had a career night for the Hokies (15-7, 5-4 ACC), finishing with 25 points and a school-record (in ACC play) 19 rebounds. Malcolm Delaney, the Hokies' leading scorer, finished with 19 points after being held to  two points on two free throws in the first half.

"Of course we know those are great players," Jackson said about Allen and Delaney. "Jeff Allen had ridiculous numbers. He's a monster. Delaney, we tried to contain him as long as we could, but I know personally for me and Joe, any 1-4 combo, particularly in the nation and our league, we're going to do our best defensively and let things come on offense. We took that personally."

Virginia Tech made only 34.5% of its shots (20-of-58) while sinking 3-of-14 threes (21.4%), all of which Delaney made. The Hokies had 40 rebounds (16 offensive), six assists, three steals, two blocks and six turnovers.

Boston College opened the game on a 16-8 run that spanned ten minutes, but Virginia Tech closed out the half with a 16-11 run of their own to trim the Eagles' halftime lead to three.

Behind a 17-point second half performance from Delaney, the Hokies outscored the Eagles, 32-31, in the final twenty minutes. Virginia Tech took its first lead, 49-48, on a Delaney three-pointer with 5:35 left. BC pulled away to take a 56-51 lead on a free throw from Southern with 2:26 remaining, but Delaney hit back-to-back shots, a three and a long two, to trim to Hokies' deficit to 58-56 with 56 seconds to go.

Delaney had a prime opportunity to tie the game at the free throw line with 24 ticks left, but missed the first of the one-and-one. Luckily, Allen was there to grab the rebound, giving Virginia Tech new life.

"It started with us not boxing out and rebounding," Trapani said. "That was our board, and we weren't able to box out. I take responsibility for that personally."

Delaney got the ball back and went for the layup, but Trapani was there to block it. Terrell Bell (seven points) grabbed the rebound and the Hokies round Erick Green wide open from the perimeter, but Green's shot missed. Bell was forced to foul Biko Paris with one second left, and Paris missed the free throw. However, the Hokies couldn't get the ball for a last-second heave, sealing the Eagles' victory.

"We were fortunate, but I think we played hard [defense], so I think we deserve this win, too," Trapani said.

The Eagles were outscored in the paint, 32-26, and were blown away in second chance baskets, 21-7. However, BC's bench contributed 16 points while holding the Hokies' bench scoreless. Remarkably, neither team scored a fast break basket.

Boston College returns to action on Tuesday when it faces ACC opponent Clemson. Virginia Tech is off until next Sunday when it hosts conference rival Georgia Tech.

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