The Eagles played a near perfect first half -- opening up a 41-19 halftime lead -- before throwing on cruise control in the second half and defeating the McNeese State Cowboys 82-64 in the first round of the NIT. The Cowboys had no answer for Reggie Jackson, who was a perfect 6-6 from the floor in the first half including a ridiculous three pointer right before the half.
Jackson finished with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal.
Corey Raji added 15 points and 11 boards, while Biko finished with 14 on 4-9 shooting from range. It's worth noting that Paris can't be bothered by boring, ordinary shots like 2-point jumpers. He's attempted just 12 two-pointers in the last 10 games, converting just 2 of those attempts (16.7%). In contrast, Biko has shot 44 percent from three over that same span (26-59).
Josh Southern picked up where he left off in non-conference play, finishing with 13 points and 5 boards in arguably his best performance since BC's game against Bucknell.
Trapani had an off night, shooting just 3-11 from the field and only logging 20 minutes due to foul trouble.
The win is the Eagles' 21st of the year and gets them one step closer to the NIT Semifinals at the Garden. BC will play the winner of Northwestern / Wisconsin-Milwaukee this weekend. The rumor is that it will be a home game for the Eagles (the women's hockey team will be in Erie and the men at the Garden), though I'm sure we'll get confirmation of that later today. Tomorrow at the latest.
In other NIT action, Boston College, Fairfield and Kent State were the only road winners on the night. Fairfield upset Colorado State 62-60 in Fort Collins to advance (Jesuits doin' work), while the MAC regular season champs took out St. Mary's 71-70 in Moraga, California.
Defending NIT champ Dayton didn't fare as well as BC, forced to hit the road as the higher seed and play at the College of Charleston. The Flyers lost 94-84. Cleveland State, Alabama, Oklahoma State, Missouri State and New Mexico were all winners last night. So much for that BC-Harvard rematch in the NIT Quarterfinals. The Crimson were dominated in the paint and had no answer for the Cowboys' big men.
The NIT field will be whittled down to 16 after tonight's action. Here is today's schedule:
(5) Nebraska at (4) Wichita State, 7 PM ESPN2
(7) Florida Atlantic at (2) Miami, 7:30 PM ESPN3.com
(5) Milwaukee at (4) Northwestern, 8 PM ESPN3.com
(8) Bethune-Cookman at (1) Virginia Tech, 8 PM ESPNU
(5) Mississippi at (4) California, 9 PM ESPN2
(8) Texas Southern at (1) Colorado, 9 PM ESPN3.com
(7) Long Beach State at (2) Washington State, 10 PM ESPNU