by David Cassilo / @dcassilo
In Steve Donahue’s second game as head coach of Boston College he did something his Cornell team didn’t do in two chances last season — lose to Yale. But what looked like the start to a rough season has been anything but for Donahue’s new team. Since that loss the Eagles have won seven of their last eight games, including a road victory over Maryland in Sunday’s ACC opener.
In a conference looking for a second-best team, Boston College has made an early claim. The Eagles have a solid core of veteran talent brought in by former coach Al Skinner, who always had a knack for finding diamond in the rough recruits. His latest success is junior guard Reggie Jackson, the team’s leading scorer at 19.2 ppg.
On Sunday, though, it was another pair of unheralded recruits, Biko Paris and Corey Raji, who keyed the Boston College victory. Paris led the way with 22 points while Raji scored the last six points of the game to take the Eagles from down 75-73 to up 79-75.
Raji tied the game at 75 with a drive, then converted a 3-pointer with 38 seconds remaining and a foul shot with 14 seconds to play.
“All thanks go out to my teammates, because you could see I wasn’t having a good night shooting,’’ said Raji, who finished 4 for 11. “But they still had confidence in me to take the shot and I knocked it down. I was out for a week, couldn’t do anything, so I was off my game. But I got to the gym and worked on my shots.’’
Biko Paris (career-high 22 points) was 6 for 10 from the 3-point line as the Eagles shot 44.8 percent (13 for 29) on threes.
The Eagles now have a few solid wins under their belt, having knocked off Maryland, Texas A&M and California. Nothing too impressive, but neither is the ACC right now, making Boston College a strong contender at this point in the season.