CHESTNUT HILL - There's a reason schools like Boston College schedule softies like Yale early in the season, right?
Not only should the Eagles be able to pick up an easy win, but they should look good doing it. But sometimes, those softies actually show up and play.
Austin Morgan made 9-of-14 shots, including 6-of-9 three-pointers, and scored a team-high 25 points as Yale dealt Boston College an embarrassing 75-67 loss at Conte Forum on Thursday night.
"I thought Yale obviously played a terrific basketball game," said Boston College head coach Steve Donahue. "The kids played with great confidence and poise. They shared the ball and made shot after shot."
The Bulldogs (1-2) made 26-of-52 shots (50.0%) in the victory and excelled from beyond the arch, sinking 12-of-21 three-pointers (57.1%).
"I thought we did a decent job a times defensively, but obviously they exposed us on certain things," Donahue said.
Reggie Jackson finished with a game-high 30 points for Boston College (1-1). Corey Raji finished with 12 points while Joe Trapani added 10 points and five rebounds.
"We still have to grow up mentally," said Jackson. "Coach can only do so much. He implements his drills in for pre-game, but if you were here last year, you're seeing the same stuff. We came out slow, and they jumped on us and they whole game we were playing catch-up."
Yale opened the game on an 14-7 run that lasted nearly seven minutes. In that span, the Bulldogs received seven points from Morgan, including two three-pointers.
"Personally, I didn't take care of my assignment," Jackson said. "Coach told me that Austin Morgan is a great shooter. At the beginning of the game, I have to take it upon myself to shut down their best scorer, and tonight I feel like I failed at it."
Boston College worked its way back into the game, using an 11-5 run to tie the game at 19 with 6:33 remaining in the first half.
Reggie Jackson scoring the tying basket, slamming home a breakaway dunk that appeared to shift the momentum back to Boston College.
Yet the Bulldogs remained calm, cool and collected, draining back-to-back three pointers to build the lead to 25-19 with 5:20 left before halftime.
Dallas Elmore (4 points) made two free throws, Jackson made a jumper and had a layup with two second remaining to bring the Eagles within five, 30-25, at the break.
Morgan led all scorers at halftime with 16 points. Jackson scored 14 in the first half, but was the only Eagle to score in double-digits, and Joe Trapani had just one point and four rebounds at the half for Boston College.
The second half was more of the same early on for the Bulldogs, who continued to have success from long range, making 5-of-10 threes in the final half.
The Eagles did their best to keep the game interesting, staying within 10 points for the majority of the half. With 2:40 left, Boston College pulled within five at 67-62 courtesy of two free-throws from Raji. They had an opportunity to make it a single-possesion game with under a minute left, but two misses from Paris and Elmore seemed to seal the deal.
Still, the Eagles weren't ready to give up yet. Jackson drove to the hoop, made the basket and got fouled with under 50 seconds remaining. He hit the free throw, bringing Boston College within four at 69-65.
But that was as close as the Eagles would get to victory, as Yale made its free throws in the final second to escape with the win.
"Definitely," Jackson said when asked if he was encouraged by the Eagles' second-half defensive performance. "Offense isn't always going to go well, so like we said, defense is going to take care of us throughout the season. Basically, we're going to have to be a defensive minded team to get to where we hope to be."
The Eagles made 21-of-52 shots (40.4%) in the loss and struggled mightily from deep, making only 3-of-19 threes (15.8%).
"We work so hard at it in practice," said Jackson. "Coach has done a great job coming in, fine-tuning our shots. Tonight was just a tough night. But [the media] was at the exhibition and praised us for shooting 45% [from three-point range], so we know we're capable of doing it again. Tonight they just didn't fall."
Despite the loss, Jackson felt that the Eagles displayed positives throughout the night.
"I believe everybody saw it in Conte," Jackson said. "It's been the same story since I was a freshman that we show great poise at times and we show great desire and that we're hungry and that we can be an elite team, but we have to do it all 40 minutes."
"We're not a good offensive basketball team right now, but we're getting better," Donahue noted. "That being said, we didn't give up, played hard, tried to do what we want, but we're not there yet and we'll continue to work at it."
Boston College will look to rebound when it hosts in-state foe Holy Cross at Conte Forum on Monday night. Nevertheless, Donahue isn't looking that far ahead.
"I'm not even worried about Holy Cross right now," said Donahue. "I'm worried about tomorrow's practice. I'm worried about getting two and a half hours in and trying to get better at every little thing we need to learn from this film."