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BC 61, Miami 60

Jackson, BC slam door on Hurricanes

BC’s Reggie Jackson throws down a ferocious dunk, but is called for a charge. BC’s Reggie Jackson throws down a ferocious dunk, but is called for a charge. (Matthew J. Lee/Globe Staff)
By Julian Benbow
Globe Staff / December 7, 2009

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Reggie Jackson made the most emphatic play of his career yesterday, but in the end it was the little things that made the difference.

BC had gone up by as many as 16 points on Miami, but found itself with only a 5-point lead with less than five minutes remaining. The ball made its way into Jackson’s hands on the wing near the Eagles’ bench, and, having been a playmaker for much of the second half, he had his mind set on making another. He drove to the basket, thinking nothing but dunk, and when the Hurricanes’ Reggie Johnson slid underneath, he looked like nothing more than a costar in Jackson’s poster.

Jackson, a 6-foot-3-inch sophomore guard, looked down at Johnson then looked up at the referee, who was pointing the other way. It was the biggest dunk of Jackson’s career, only it didn’t count because of a charging call.

“At the end of the day, he made an aggressive call,’’ Jackson said. “I can’t be mad at him.’’

Instead, Jackson made plays. Malcolm Grant scored 7 straight Miami points, knotting it at 57. Trying to put the Hurricanes away, Joe Trapani put up a 3-pointer that clanged off the rim. Three Hurricanes went to box out Corey Raji, one was contesting Trapani’s shot, and Jackson saw an opportunity.

“It felt like slow-mo,’’ he said. “Like I could just walk to the basket and grab the rebound. After that, it was easy. Just put it on the glass and let the rest happen.’’

It was BC’s 23d offensive rebound of the game. His putback gave the Eagles a 59-57 lead. Moments later, Jackson went to the line with a chance to put Miami to bed for good. The Eagles made 18 of 25 free throws but had been shaky in the second half. After gesturing to his teammates to calm down, Jackson sank both foul shots to seal BC’s 61-60 win in front of 5,063 fans at Conte Forum.

Jackson finished with a game-high 18 points and nine rebounds, doing most of his work in the second half. With the Eagles still missing their top returning scorer, junior forward Rakim Sanders (ankle), Jackson became the substitute go-to guy for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener, a role coach Al Skinner wasn’t surprised to see him fill.

“He’s still maturing,’’ Skinner said. “But let’s understand, even a year ago, late in the game, he’s always been aggressive.’’

The Eagles didn’t shoot well (20 for 58 from the floor, 3 for 18 from 3-point range), but they dominated the previously undefeated Hurricanes on the glass (46-21).

“They just kicked us on the boards,’’ said Miami coach Frank Haith. “Simple as that.’’

One of the other keys was free throw shooting, which was more than lopsided. Miami only got to the line six times, making five. The charge on Jackson was one of the few calls Miami got, in Haith’s eyes.

“There’s a lot of calls that I could talk about,’’ he said.

Nine players scored for the ’Canes (8-1, 0-1), but Grant (18 points, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers) was the only one in double figures. Raji had 17 points and nine boards.

The Eagles won their third straight, improving their record to 6-2, and banked an all-important ACC win. And taking that into consideration, Skinner said it was easy for him not to think about the foul on Jackson.

“Block/charges are one of the most difficult calls to make,’’ Skinner said. “It’s always going go be a judgment call. The only reason I can say this calmly and not get upset is because we won.’’