When Boston College played Miami on Dec. 6, Reggie Jackson scored 18 points and sank two crucial free throws in the final seconds, while Josh Southern stayed out of foul trouble and helped BC shut down Miami's big guys by outrebounding them 43-19.
When the two met up again Jan. 19, Southern exited the game early in the first half, picking up two fouls, and Jackson had just two points in the second half.
The differences in the two games were showing as Miami would go on a 26-9 scoring run that seemed to crush the Eagles' hopes of stealing an ACC road win.
However, for Miami, not only did sophomore guard Jackson again have a big second half, Joe Trapani had a huge game in all, going for 31. Jackson added 15 in the second half and finished with 17 overall.
This time around, Jackson shared the spotlight with Trapani. Instead of making the crucial free throws, he instead made the game-changing assist.
At one point in this game, Miami held a 17-point advantage in the second half, and it was looking as if the Hurricanes were on their way to their second ACC win of the season.
Southern had picked up his fourth foul, and BC looked beyond toasted. BC seemed to take some momentum into the locker room at halftime after Trapani drained a three to conclude the first half, cutting the lead to 10. Miami quickly responded and built up a 17-point lead. The score was 58-41 Miami with 15:46 left in the game.
After Southern went out with his fourth foul, Miami geared its attention toward Corey Raji and Rakim Sanders, and the Hurricanes certainly shut them down.
Sanders won the dribble, but he found his shot blocked by Dwayne Collins because there was little threat of a pass to Cortney Dunn across the paint.
Miami did its job in shutting down Raji and Sanders, but they forgot about two very important players and left too much room for them to operate. Jackson and Trapani took over the second half.
Jackson and Trapani had different plans for Miami. Trapani was well on his way to a big day, scoring 17 in the first half. For Jackson, it was a different story. Jackson struggled in the first half, just putting in two points on 1-of-3 shooting.
Jackson was quick to turn things around in the second half by scoring 15 points. Trapani, who had seemed to cool down during the Miami run, quickly heated back up. Trapani added 14 more in the second half to lead BC to their most improbable and what could prove to be the season-changing win.
The game's momentum rapidly shifted to BC after a missed three-point attempt from Sanders. Trapani flew in for the offensive rebound and put it in the cup. That play led to a 17-4 BC run, which put them just one bucket behind the 'Canes.
Jackson came off the bench and played almost the entire second half in place of starting point guard Biko Paris. Jackson added 15 of his 17 in the second half and was involved in almost every big play for BC.
Jackson has been more than a contributor off the bench this year. He has started several games, but since BC's three-game skid, he was moved back to sixth man because BC was missing Southern's size down low.
Jackson is the playmaker on this team, and although he is no Tyrese Rice, he is certainly a nice way to cope with his loss.
Jackson made the most notable play of the game, dishing a jump pass to Trapani under the basket. Trapani wasted no time. He went up and laid it in as the shot clock expired.
This gave BC its first lead since it led 23-22 with 12 minutes left in the first half. Together, Jackson and Trapani scored 15 of BC's final 16 points and 29 of their 44 second-half points.
Another forgotten hero for the Eagles in this one was lone senior Tyler Roche. Roche added eight points and hit two big threes for BC.
The Eagles improved their ACC record to 2-3, and as BC assistant coach Pat Duquette said, "It sounds crazy, but 2-3 sounds a lot better than 1-4." He couldn't be more right.
The Eagles were in danger of basically kissing their season goodbye, barring some miracle, after losing three in a row by 16 or more.
BC heads to Blacksburg on Saturday to take on the always-tough Virginia Tech Hokies. BC certainly isn't what it used to be, but 9-7 in the ACC won't be impossible. This win was a major step forward in the right direction for the Eagles.
For BC, this win could be tide-changing, but all fingers point to Saturday at Virginia Tech, which isn't exactly an easy place to play.
We will learn a lot more about BC—and the ACC, for that matter—after Saturday’s games conclude.
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