BC Downs Virginia

After a dominating first half, the BC men's basketball team held off a second half run by Virginia to win their fifth straight game. The 80-70 road win raised the Eagles to 18-and-6 and 6-and-3 in the conference. It also added another important win to their tournament resume.

Boston College got off to a blistering start in the opening half of their game against Virginia, shooting a remarkable 68% in the first half. Led by Tyrese Rice's 13 points and Rakim Sanders' 11, the Eagles were able to easily amass a double digit lead by the midway point in the half. On the defensive end, they held UVA to just 21% shooting (6-28) and kept sensational freshman Sylven Landesberg in check. The Eagles led by 20 points at the half, 42-22.

The second half, however, was an entirely different affair. Much like the Georgia Tech game, the Eagles gave up their big lead, committing ten turnovers and allowing the Cavs too many easy looks on the offensive end.

Virginia switched to a 3-2 zone defense that really gave the Eagles fits offensively. The rhythm and confidence of the first half gave way to uncertainty as BC was unable to run their flex against the Virginia zone. In addition, Coach Skinner was forced to take Rice out when he picked up his third foul around the 17-minute mark.

The Cavaliers responded by going on a 13-4 run with Rice on the bench to close the gap at 52-40. Skinner brought Rice back in and the team quickly scored five unanswered points on a Trapani three-pointer and a Biko Paris layup.

Virginia continued to fight back and cut the lead down to single digits for the first time in the second half with nine minutes to play at 57-48. Sylven Landesberg made big play after big play for Virginia. He finished with a career high 32 points, 26 of which came in the second half. The Cavaliers run also brought life back into the crowd at John Paul Jones Arena.

BC went back up by 14 points following another Paris layup and a three-pointer from the suddenly hot Tyler Roche, both on looks from Tyrese Rice. The Cavaliers would not go down without a fight, as Landesberg put on a second half scoring clinic. He scored 18 of Virginia's 22 points in the final seven minutes of this ballgame.

"At halftime, Coach Leitao said we had to stop playing passive and start playing aggressive," Landesberg said, "so I took that mindset and started attacking the basket more."

Virginia would cut the lead down to single digits, 68-59, once again with 2:30 left to play following four consecutive free throws by Landesberg. With less than two minutes to play Virginia came within seven points, the smallest margin since the mid-way point in the first half. But Landesberg's remarkable efforts fell short as BC hit 12-of-14 free throws in those final two minutes.

The Eagles were able to weather the second half surge by Virginia, despite committing 20 turnovers in the game. The coaching staff placed a strong emphasis on rebounding last game and it has paid off once again, as the Eagles outrebounded Virginia 39-31 in this one.

BC got strong efforts from Rakim Sanders and Tyrese Rice. They each scored 20 points apiece and Sanders recorded his 3rd career double-double by adding 10 rebounds. Sanders was also active around the rim, with several tip-ins on the offensive end. The highlight was an athletic, reverse tip-slam in the second half. Rice would also add six assists and six boards in a well-rounded game by the senior leader.

Biko Paris played well in his extended minutes tonight. He played extensively in the second half and finished with a season high 12 points. Tyler Roche, coming off a great game against Virginia Tech, contributed once again with eight points, including 2-of-3 from three-point range. Joe Trapani added 12 points and six rebounds as well.

Reggie Jackson was held scoreless for the first time in his college career. He played only seven minutes after picking up two quick fouls and did not attempt a shot in the game. It was also an unusual off night for Corey Raji. He scored just four points and hauled in just one rebound, while also turning the ball over five times in the game.

Boston College continues to bolster its tournament resume with each conference win. Assuming nine league wins is the threshold; the Eagles need to win just three of their final seven to lock up a bid. BC travels to Winston-Salem to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Sunday at 4 pm.

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