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BC 79, Miami 75: Reasons for Optimism?

Jeff: Was it just a hot shooting night by Joe Trapani that allowed BC to stay in the game early and ultimately win? Or did things look different enough last night that you think BC might be able to win some more conference games this season? Your thoughts?

Brian: I remain cautiously optimistic. The fact that the Eagles trailed 58-41 early in the second half and didn't quit on this team and, frankly, this season is encouraging. This was a game the Eagles had to have if they had any hopes of making any noise in the ACC this year. I said before the season started that this was a very winnable game given the start time (9pm weeknight tipoff) and Miami's attendance woes. I'm glad to see the Eagles capitalize and get a much-needed road victory. 

You have to like Joe Trapani heating up from the floor and dropping a career high 31 points on the Hurricanes, including shooting 5-of-10 from 3-point range. Trapani has had some miserable shooting nights in this stretch of 3 straight blowout losses. Also, it appears that Reggie Jackson, not Rakim Sanders, is emerging as the go-to guy in Al Skinner's offense. Jackson scored 15 of his 17 in the second half, and is slowly started to emerge as the leader on the floor that this team desperately needs.

On to the dislikes. Rakim Sanders has been stone cold on offense from the floor. Sanders has shot 28.6 percent (4-of-14) at Clemson, 12.5 percent (1-of-8) at Duke, 26.7 percent (4-of-15) vs. Maryland and now 33.3 percent (3-of-9) at Miami in his four ACC games. And the 33.3 percent shooting effort last night hides the fact that Sanders went 0-for-4 from 3-point range. This team can only expect to win ACC games against teams not named the Hurricanes if Sanders gets hot from the floor. The other dislike was the disappearance of Corey Raji. Raji has been very quiet since ACC play started, after registering really strong numbers in non-conference play.

Finally, while a win temporarily stops the bleeding, the ACC schedule gives the Eagles no breaks. The Eagles travel to Blacksburg Saturday to play the 14-3 Hokies before returning home to face Clemson, Florida State and Duke. BC has proven that they can beat the Hurricanes, but they haven't exactly proven that they can hang with the better half of the ACC this year.