Steve Donahue took the helm of the Boston College men's basketball team on April 6, 2010. Many expected that he would issue in a new era of basketball in Chestnut Hill, but no one predicted that it would happen this quickly.
Boston College is off to a fast 9-2 start and has already started to garner national attention. The Eagles have won six games in a row and seven of their last eight.
Donahue and company will put their winning streak on the line when Boston College faces Bucknell for the first time since 1951 Wednesday night at 7 p.m. EST in Conte Forum (WRKO).
In their only prior meeting, Boston College topped Bucknell, 86-64.
The Eagles are coming off of a 93-77 blowout win over Bryant University last Sunday. Josh Southern scored a career high 18 points, Biko Paris added 18 points and Reggie Jackson added 16 points and nine assists.
Jackson has been the Eagles' runaway MVP through 11 games, averaging 18.9 points, 4.9 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals. He ranks second in the ACC in scoring, second in field goal percentage (52.1%) and ranks second in the conference in assists per game. Jackson's stellar start to the season has made him an early favorite to win the ACC Player of the Year award.
Joe Trapani is second in scoring (12.6 points per game) and is the Eagles' leading rebounder with 69 boards (6.3 per game). However, Trapani has not shot the ball well this season, making 43-of-122 field goals (35.2%) and 13-of-46 three pointers (28.3%).
Corey Raji is third in scoring (11.6 points per game ) and second in rebounding with 55 total (6.1 per game). Raji is shooting 57.1% from the field and 34.8% from beyond the arc. Raji started the Eagles first two games, but was replaced by freshman Danny Rubin (7.5 points per game) after he was playing well in practice.
Paris has been one of the Eagles' pleasant surprises this season. Through 11 games, Paris is averaging 11.5 points, three assists and has a field goal percentage of 47.9%. Even more impressive has been Paris' performance from distance, as he has made a team-high 25-of-58 threes to shoot 43.1% behind the arc.
Southern has also been a solid contributor this season. In 10 games and three starts, Southern has averaged 8.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. After missing some time at the beginning of the season following intestinal surgery in the off-season, Southern struggled in the early going, but has rebounded to become a force in the paint.
The Eagles will be bolstered by the return of Cortney Dunn, who is returning from a three game suspension for violating team policy. Dunn is averaging two points and 2.3 rebounds in eight games in 2010.
Bucknell (6-6) has had a bumpy start to the season, going 2-6 in its first eight games. However, the Bison responded by winning their last four games. The Bison have already defeated a team from Boston, as Bucknell topped Boston University 52-49 on Saturday, December 4th.
In its last game, Bucknell defeated Steve Donahue's former team, Cornell, 75-64 at Newman Arena. Mike Muscala scored a team-high 20 points, Bryan Cohen totaled 17 points and eight rebounds and Joe Willman added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Bison. Bucknell made 25-of-50 field goals (50%), 6-of-9 threes (66.7%) and 19-of-25 free throws in the victory.
Muscala leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points and a team-high 6.1 rebonds. G.W. Boon is the only other Bison to averaged double-digit scoring with 10.7 points per contest. He is also leading the team in free throw percentage 88.9%. Bucknell has three other players averaging at least eight points: Cohen (8.3 PPG), Bryson Johnson (8.2 PPG) and Darryl Shazier (8 PPG).
While Boston College is facing a middle-of-the-road team in Bucknell,it is not letting down one bit. The Eagles learned their lesson after letting their guard down against Yale earlier this season, which resulted in an embarrassing 75-67 loss at Conte Forum.
"We've been preparing since the loss to Yale not to overlook any teams and come out and play our same game no matter who we're playing," Paris said after Boston College's win against Bryant. "The coach is doing a wonderful job getting us prepared mentally and physically to play teams like this."
Following Wednesday nights game at Conte Forum, Boston College travels south to face the University of Rhode Island on Wednesday, December 29th in their final game of 2010.