Steve Donahue is thankful for many things, but he is especially thankful for junior guard Reggie Jackson.
Jackson scored a game-high 21 points, including eight in the first half, as Boston College escaped with a 67-65 victory over Texas A&M in the first round of the Old Spice Classic at HP Field House in Kissimmee, Florida on Thanksgiving Day.
The Eagles (3-1) made 22-of-44 shots in the win and 9-of-19 shots from beyond the arc while the Aggies hit 22-of-48 baskets and 7-of-20 threes.
Joe Trapani finished the game with 14 points after scoring eight in the first half for Boston College. Corey Raji added 11 points, Biko Paris scored seven and both Danny Rubin and Josh Southern had six points for the Eagles.
Khris Middleton scored a team-high 19 points for Texas A&M (3-1). David Loubeau totaled 15 points, B.J. Holmes added 14 points and Nathan Walkup scored 13 for the Aggies.
Boston College opened the game on an 11-4 run and built the lead up to 10 midway through the half. In the final 10 minutes, the Aggies pushed back into the game and cut Boston College's lead to one at 29-28. However, two unanswered baskets from Boston College put the Eagles in control at the break.
Jackson scored eight points for Boston College in the half, making 3-of-6 shots, including 2-of-3 three pointers. Paris and Raji each had five points and Southern added four points for the Eagles in the first half.
Walkup led all scorers at the break with 10 points for Texas A&M. Loubeau and Middleton each had seven points and Marshall Carrell and Ray Turner both scored two points for the Aggies after one half.
Boston College made 12-of-23 shots (52.2%) and connected on 7-of-13 three pointers (53.8%) while Texas A&M hit 10-of-25 shots (40%) but missed all six of its three point attempts in the opening half.
Jackson opened the second half with a three to give Boston College a 36-28 advantage. The Eagles would use a 12-10 advantage over the first five minutes of the second half to take a 48-38 lead with 15:00 left to play.
The Aggies used a 6-0 run to trim the Eagles' lead to 49-44 with 12:49 remaining, prompting Eagles coach Steve Donahue to call a timeout. Texas A&M would extend the run to 10-2, bringing them within three points at 51-48 with 7:48 to go.
Trapani hit a pair of free throws to give Boston College a 53-48 advantage, but the Aggies hit a three to cut the Eagles lead to two.
Middleton drove to the basket on the next play and got the foul. He made the both free throws, tying the game for the first time since tip-off.
The didn't phase Jackson, though, who knocked down a pair of free throws and made an athletic layup to rebuild the lead to 57-53.
Texas A&M didn't back off, tying the game at 60 with 3:15 left and again at 62 with nearly two minutes left.
Once again, Jackson took control, hitting two straight baskets to give BC a 66-62 lead with less than a minute to go.
The Aggies missed a huge opportunity when Holmes hit a three and was fouled by Biko Paris. Luckily for Boston College, Holmes missed the free throw and the chance to tie the game.
Jackson took the ball up court and worked the clock down before passing to Trapani, who attempted a three with 11 seconds remaining. The shot was short, but bounced right back to Trapani, who drove to the hoop and missed again.
Thankfully, Raji was there for the rebound and was fouled with 4.9 ticks left. Raji missed the first free throw but made the second to give the Eagles a 67-65 lead.
After two timeouts, the Aggies inbounded the ball to Dash Harris, who took it the distance of the court but missed the game-tying layup as time expired, sealing the Eagles' victory.
Boston College will face the winner of Wisconsin/Manhattan (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2) in the second round of the Old Spice Classic on Friday. Texas A&M will face the loser of Wisconsin/Manhattan, which will also be played on Friday.