Jackson makes it happen for BC

December 06, 2009 - 5:08 pm
Boston College guard Reggie Jackson didn't play like a freshman last season, turning in big performances on the biggest stages. This season, he's playing more like a senior than a sophomore. And he talks with a maturity beyond his class as well. On Sunday at Conte Forum, Jackson tied for game highs with 18 points and nine rebounds, and he came up with the game-deciding plays in a 61-60 over Miami. "Now that we don't have Tyrese [Rice], and Rakim [Sanders is] out, we need people to step up," teammate Corey Raji said. "I feel that he's been doing a pretty good job of that since Rakim got hurt. I feel that he'll continue to do that job. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in him that he'll continue to step up." After BC had squandered a 16-point lead and allowed the Hurricanes to tie the score at 57 on a Malcolm Grant drive with 2:26 left, it was Jackson who found a way top get the ball in his hands when BC needed a big play. With less than two minutes left, Joe Trapani missed a 3-pointer from the side opposite the BC bench, but Jackson saw that Miami sent extra bodies to the glass to counter BC's Corey Raji and Josh Southern. Jackson followed the ball as it caromed to the other side of the rim, grabbed the rebound and laid it in for the biggest basket of the night. [Raji] drew about three guys, Josh [Southern] drew some attention. ... I figured I should take the opportunity," Jackson said. "I got to just walk under the basket and grab the rebound. After that it was easy. Just put it on the glass and let the rest happen." After a Miami miss, BC took control and Jackson waited until the shot clock ran down before launching a 3-pointer that missed. However, with Raji pressuring, the rebound went off a Miami player and BC maintained control. With 18 seconds left, Jackson spotted an opening and drove the lane. He took off for a monstrous one-handed dunk but was called for the charge on a call that incensed the Conte Forum crowd. Although it didn't count, the dunk was memorable for all who saw it '€” including Jackson. "It's probably No. 1 on my list right now," Jackson said when asked to rate it. After rebounding another Miami miss and getting fouled, Jackson clinched the game by hitting two free throws with two seconds left (Grant hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a one-point final). Considering the Eagles had missed five of their previous six from the line, there was reason for the home crowd to be concerned. Not Jackson. "I really don't feel there's such thing as pressure," he said. "There's only two things you can do: You can miss or make. You just have to go up with confidence. If you do miss, the only people that matter are the 11 guys with you in the locker room and the coaches. They're not going to get down on you about missing free throws. But we need to do a better job this year about knocking down free throws." After the game, Jackson talked about his team's failure to protect a big lead for the third straight game '€” all wins nonetheless. "We've got to do a better job closing out, because this is just too close for comfort," he said. "Some teams are going to sneak up on us and probably put an 'L' in our column, so you don't want that happening. We're going to learn how to better maintain and manage the time when we're up by double digits. "I feel that we become more passive, kind of do think about the lead rather than just keep playing as if the score was 0-0," he added. "I feel we're all going to mature and get better at times doing that." When asked about the Eagles (6-2) avoiding a letdown now that they are heading into a stretch of nonleague games they will be expected to win, Jackson talked about the importance of avoiding a slip-up that could prove costly come NCAA tournament selection time. "We had those two losses in the Virgin Islands in neutral games to [Northern Iowa] and St. Joseph's," he said. "We watch ESPN also. We know it's not going to look good on our resume. So, we prepare ourselves as best we can for each and every game. Until March comes, we try not to look past any opponent. We're trying our best to get the job done." Spoken like a veteran.