Boston College may have been picked to finish 10th in the ACC this season, but don't tell Eagles coach Steve Donahue.
Through 10 games, Donahue has the Eagles playing some stellar basketball. Boston College is 8-2 and is coming off a 79-75 win over Maryland in the first ACC tilt for both teams.
The Eagles will look to win their fifth game in a row when they host non-conference opponent Bryant at Conte Forum on Sunday at 3 p.m. EST (WRKO).
Boston College leads the all-time series against Bryant 1-0. The first meeting between the two teams was on December 10th, 2008 when the Eagles steamrolled the Bulldogs 80-61 at Conte Forum.
In Boston College's win over Maryland, Biko Paris scored a career-high 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Paris was red hot from distance, making 6-of-10 three pointers in the Eagles' first true road game of the year.
"The opportunities just presented themselves," Paris said. "I never prearrange how many shots I'm going to take before a game I just take whatever they give me."
Boston College is excelling from the perimeter this year, having made 85-of-230 threes to shoot 37% from deep.
"In practice we take a lot more three-pointers than we usually would have taken in the past," said Paris, who is averaging 10.8 points and is shooting 38.8% from beyond the arc this season. "Coach [Steve Donahue] stresses a lot about getting extra shots in after practice and working with each other on our shots. We've just been establishing ourselves as who we are as a team, we shoot threes and play hard on defense. Shooting threes is just a part of who were are now."
When push comes to shove, Donahue believes that practice makes perfect, and his team has proven it.
"I think the reason we are shooting three-pointers better is because our guys work really hard and put in extra time outside of practice," Donahue said. "I can't remember the last time I told one of my guys they had taken a bad shot because I don't want to put that thought in their heads. We want to teach them as much as we can about playing the game, but I don't want them to ever think they shouldn't shoot the basketball."
Reggie Jackson has been the Eagles' catalyst this season, averaging a team-high 19.2 points, 4.5 assists and 1.4 steals. He ranks second in the ACC in scoring, third in three-point shooting percentage 47.8% and third in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4).
Joe Trapani, who became the 38th player in Boston College history to score 1,000 points in the Eagles' last game, is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds.
Corey Raji is third in scoring, averaging 11.1 points, and leads the team in rebounding with 6.6 boards per game. He scored 11 points against Maryland, nine of which came in the second half, in his return from a concussion that sidelined him for two and a half games.
Danny Rubin and Josh Southern round out the Eagles' attack, averaging 7.8 and 7.4 points, respectively. Rubin scored nine points on 3-of-6 shooting from the perimeter against Maryland while Southern finished with six points and six rebounds against the Terps.
Southern is expected to start his third game of the season on Sunday against Bryant. After missing the Eagles' season-opener and playing limited minutes in the next six games, Southern started for the first time this season against Providence and finished with a career-high 16 points and nine rebounds. In the prior game against UMass, Southern also had 16 points and collected seven rebounds.
Bryant is off to a dismal 1-8 start this season. To make matters worse, the Bulldogs are riding a six game losing streak and have lost seven of their last eight games.
After losing to Cleveland State (71-57) and Kent State (90-49), Bryant won its first and only game of the year, 74-72, against Iona on Raphael Jordan's game-winning three at the final buzzer.
However, the Bulldogs went on to lose their next five against Army (76-66), Harvard (69-66), Lehigh (88-66), Farleigh Dickinson (78-68) and Yale (75-53).
The Bulldogs dropped their last game against Columbia 76-72. Bryant led 68-67 with 1:02 remaining, but Steve Frankoski (11 points) hit a three on the next possesion to give Columbia the lead for good. Frankie Dobbs and Alex Francis each scored 16 points, Cecil Gresham added 14 points and Matthew Lee had 11 points.
Dobbs leads Bryant in scoring, averaging 14.8 points. Gresham averages 13.3 points and Francis is averaging 12.4 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds for the Bulldogs.
Following Sunday's game, Boston College will face Bucknell on at 7 p.m. EST on Wednesday, December 22nd at Conte Forum.
PREDICTION: Boston College 95, Bryant 68 - The Eagles and Bulldogs are heading in different directions this season, and as a result, the Eagles should have their way at Conte Forum. Reggie Jackson, Joe Trapani and Corey Raji should all reach double-digits in scoring, with Jackson scoring more than 20 points.