Eagles work through spring break with win

March 04, 2010 - 1:56 am

While the rest of the Boston College campus took off for spring break, the Eagles were in Conte Forum taking care of business. BC handed floundering Virginia its eighth straight loss of the season with a 68-55 decision Wednesday night. Earlier in the week, BC coach Al Skinner said he wanted his team to sustain a level of consistency that he believed his team was building, and in the first half the Eagles were balanced on both sides of the court. They jumped out to a 13-2 lead to begin the game and closed the half on a 13-3 run to take a stranglehold on the outcome. '€œI just thought it was important for us to get off to a good start,'€ Skinner said. '€œVirginia is a very good team shooting the basketball and it was important for us to get out and defend that. When you start going out and defending shooters, it means you got to work. I think our energy was up and we focused on that and it created some opportunities on the offensive end.'€ After suffering through a season-high four-game losing streak, the Eagles now have won three of their last four games '€” their only blemish on the road against Georgia Tech '€” and have one more game at North Carolina State (Sunday) before the ACC tournament March 11-14. Here are three things we learned. POTENTIAL REMATCH With the win, the Eagles now are staring at an eighth seed in the conference tournament. The Eagles could be looking at a rematch with the same Virginia team that visited the Heights on Wednesday, and this could be a good thing. The Cavaliers are going to be limping into the tournament, and riding a losing streak is no way to enter important games down the stretch. Also, Cavaliers leading scorer Sylven Landesberg only had 13 points Wednesday night and has been hobbled with a leg injury. '€œWith his injury and our energy, you knew it was going to be a long night for him,'€ Skinner said. '€œI don'€™t think we did anything in particular. We played against him last year and he had a great game against us last year and we kind of remembered that.'€ Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett also noticed that his star guard was hobbled a bit after the sophomore missed the previous game '€” the first absence of his career. '€œI don'€™t think he was 100 percent, but he got some looks and I think some of his shots came up short, real short,'€ said Bennett, whose team dropped to 14-14 overall and 5-10 in the ACC. '€œHis legs probably weren'€™t under him, but I think when you tighten up it'€™s a little tougher to come back." The Eagles seem to have righted the ship just a bit, and another win over Virginia coupled with a strong tournament showing could be just what the decision-makers need to see to get BC into the postseason, even if it isn'€™t the NCAAs. Skinner was just happy that his team continued to show the signs of life that he has witnessed over this last stretch of games. '€œRight now I'€™m glad we are where are we are,'€ Skinner said, referencing the eight seed in the ACC tournament. '€œI think we did some good things tonight and I think they will be better prepared for us next time. I like where we are and what we are doing, not just in this game.'€ DEFENSIVE EFFORT The Eagles played solid defense in the first half of the game, holding the Cavaliers to 35.7 percent shooting from the field. The Cavaliers did heat up in the second half, shooting close to 60 percent, but they finished just 2-of-13 from behind the arc, and most of those points came when the game was well in hand. BC took a 37-23 lead into the half and held an advantage that swelled to 19 points in the second half. '€œWe couldn'€™t let them get too much energy because if they went on a run then we knew we would be in for a long night,'€ said BC forward Corey Raji, who finished with a game-high 18 points and made his presence felt on the glass with nine rebounds. '€œI felt we did a good job of slowing down the transition baskets.'€ Skinner talked earlier in the week about how he felt players were making a consistent effort on the defensive end, and for him it was all about good rotation and getting a hand in a shooter's face. '€œI just think it was a constant effort that we made on the defensive end,'€ Skinner said. '€œI thought our defense was pretty consistent all evening.'€ REGGIE RUNNING POINT Since heading back into the starting rotation, Reggie Jackson has shown why he can be such a playmaker. The previous two games, Jackson had double-digit assist totals. On Wednesday he only finished with four assists but did enough little things to set up teammates for some easy baskets. Part of the reason he gets teammates opportunities is because he has the potential to put up big offensive numbers night in and night out, and Skinner took note of that after the game. '€œFirst of all, he'€™s a threat at that position from a scoring standpoint,'€ Skinner said. '€œThe other thing is he creates a problem for people that have to guard him because he is a big guard and he can score. '€œI think he has really benefited because as a team our execution has improved.'€ Jackson played 30 minutes Wednesday night, second only to Raji'€™s 32, and he put good pressure on the opposing point guards on the defensive end.