CHESTNUT HILL - We've seen it too many times before. A red-hot basketball team faces a down-and-out opponent, lets its guard down and pays the price for it. That was the last thing Boston College wanted to happen, and thanks to efficient passing and smart team play, it didn't.
Josh Southern scored a career-high 18 points and Biko Paris added 18 points as Boston College won its sixth straight game, defeating Bryant 93-77 on Sunday afternoon at Conte Forum. The win was the Eagles' sixth in a row and their seventh in the last eight games.
"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," said Paris. "The coach is doing a wonderful job getting us prepared mentally and physically to play teams like this."
Southern was 8-of-9 from the field and 2-for-3 at the free-throw line while Paris made 6-of-9 shots and scored all of his points from beyond the arc. Paris had shooting struggles earlier in the season, but has since found his stroke.
"Honestly, I don't think I've changed anything," Paris said. "I'm still getting the same shots I was getting at the beginning of the season. Fortunately for me, they're falling. I took some extra time after practices, get in the gym before practices, get some extra shots with one of the coaches. I'm just taking my time every time and following through. I guess I'm just fortunate right now."
Reggie Jackson scored 16 points and nine assists and Corey Raji added 15 points for the Eagles. Joe Trapani finished the game with 11 points, making a game-high 6-of-10 free throws.
"I think if we're going to be a good basketball team, that's how we're going to do it," Boston College head coach Steve Donahue said about having multiple player score in double digits. "I don't really envision one guy getting 30 points and the other guys getting 10. I think we play that way, we share the basketball. If a guys open, he shoots it. We don't really try to look at it as an opportunity where we should just get one guy shots."
Alex Francis and Matthew Lee both scored 15 points for Bryant. Frankie Dobbs was the only other Bulldog to score in double digits, finishing with 12 points.
Boston College (9-2) opened the game on an 8-2 run, but Bryant (1-9) was able to cut the lead to 14-11 five minutes in. The Bulldogs kept the game close for the first 10 minutes, cutting the Eagles' lead down to two points, 26-24, midway through the opening half.
"We were just very conservative in our close outs," Donahue said about Bryant's early comeback bid.
However, the Eagles hit a string of threes during a 14-0 run to take a 40-24 lead with 5:16 remaining. Boston College would close out the half on an 11-10 run and took a 51-34 lead into the break.
Boston College made 18-of-28 shots and 8-of-13 three pointers while Bryant connected on 14-of-27 field goals and made 6-of-13 threes in the first half. The most remarkable stat of the half was the Eagles' assist-to-turnover ratio (14 assists, 1 turnover). Bryant had nine assists and 10 turnovers in the first half.
"They're doing everything I want offensively," Donahue said. "They're sharing the basketball. It was a flawless game in terms of handling the basketball. There were very few decisions I was wondering why we did that. I think that's what makes us a good basketball team."
The second half feature more of the same for Boston College, which continued its effective passing and smart play throughout the final twenty minutes to seal victory number nine of the season.
The Eagles finished the game 34-for-59 from the field (57.6%) and 13-for-23 from distance (56.5%). Boston College collected 23 rebounds, 25 assists, nine steals and had five turnovers for the game.
"I thought we obviously played well offensively," said Donahue. "I think Bryant, and it's hard to tell people because they've struggled for two seasons, but it's a much improved basketball team that probably should have won a couple games. I'm happy with our offense, and we need to continue to improve on the defensive end."
Bryant wasn't as fortunate, making 29-of-60 field goals (48.3%) and 11-of-29 threes (37.9%) in forty minutes. The Bulldogs had 35 rebounds, 15 assists, one steal and 17 turnovers in the losing effort.
"We have to do a better job, we're not disciplined enough," Donahue said about his teams effort on the boards. "It's my responsibility to hold these guys accountable. It's just something we need to get continue to get better at."
Boston College hosts Bucknell at 7p.m. EST on Wednesday in its final game of the year at Conte Forum. The Eagles head south to face Rhode Island after that on Wednesday, December 29th in their 2010 finale.