BC 79, St. Francis (N.Y.) 49

Easy does it for the Eagles

Donahue’s debut turns into rout

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / November 13, 2010

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A year ago, Boston College recorded a 28-point victory over St. Francis (N.Y.). Last night, with a new coach and new style of play, the Eagles went 2 points better with a 79-49 victory over the Terriers at Conte Forum.

BC was not challenged in coach Steve Donahue’s debut, but the Eagles gave a preview of their up-tempo offense and 1-3-1 defense, plus a taste of their fire-at-will 3-point game.

The Eagles’ first four field goal attempts and five of their first six shots were from 3-point range. But it soon became apparent they were not going to be on target from distance, and they changed emphasis to an inside game. BC took a 24-2 lead on Reggie Jackson’s pull-up jumper with 7:54 remaining in the half, and could have coasted from there.

“I didn’t see any kind of goofing off or, hey, this is a game we have in hand,’’ said Donahue. “I thought we had intensity the whole 40 minutes. Little things like that are important.

“I thought we guarded, guys were enthusiastic on the bench. I thought we were very businesslike, yet having fun, playing confident, and playing 40 minutes. That’s a big step. I was concerned with that early on when I got here because we would have a good practice for 20 minutes, then guys would lose their concentration, and I thought we did a good job of it tonight.’’

BC ended up 4 for 21 on 3-pointers (22 for 33 on 2-pointers), a week after the Eagles set a Conte record with 15 3-pointers in an 85-58 exhibition win over Philadelphia University.

“I thought they were rushed,’’ Donahue said of BC’s 3-point attempts. “I thought we were maybe open but we just didn’t give it a chance. A lot of times three success is based on passing, and we didn’t do a great job of moving the ball. It was one pass and then it’s open. I don’t think they were in rhythm, we didn’t make the defense guard us.

“I thought we rushed a few. That being said, there were a couple open that we normally make, as well. I would hope we would get better at overall execution, moving the ball. I thought we did it at times in the second half — we took seven threes, most of the baskets were assisted on; I thought you saw a more relaxed team in terms of execution.’’

BC’s 1-3-1 trapping defense was effective, the Terriers going 1 for 20 from the field before they began finding solutions.

“They really bought into it,’’ Donahue said of the Eagles. “It’s a hard defense to go against. The difficult thing is to keep the intensity of the 1-3-1 up. We did a good job of that. Teams I’ve had in the past have had a difficult time rebounding out of that. It just seems they can rebound out of that, and I think it will be a defense that will really help us.

“They’re further along than I would ever have imagined. I also feel this group can be very good defensively. We have good size. We don’t have great size on the front line, but we have guys who are strong across the board and they can guard different guys. I think we can be a very good defensive team and that will help our offense, obviously. But we’re going to get a lot better defensively. We’re going to work on that, for sure.’’

BC played without center Josh Southern (lower-body surgery), who is expected to return for Thursday’s game against Yale.

“I think that’s kind of what our mind-set was coming in — play good D, play intense D, take the baseline away,’’ said forward Joe Trapani, who led BC with 20 points. “The offense will take care of itself as long we continue to do that.’’

Jackson and Corey Raji added 17 points for the Eagles, while Ricky Cadell paced St. Francis with 14.

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at