Jim Christian

North Carolina's Justin Jackson (44) reacts following a basket against UNC Greensboro during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Monday, Dec. 28, 2015. North Carolina won 96-63. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome

Justin Jackson, No. 9 North Carolina survive at Boston College

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No. 9 North Carolina’s trip to Chestnut Hill to play ACC cellar dweller Boston College was expected to be a routine one, with Roy Williams’ team taking care of business and heading back home. The game was anything but routine, beginning with Williams’ decision to start a completely different front court from the one that struggled in a loss at Notre Dame Saturday night.

Add in Williams having to leave the sidelines after collapsing in the second half and the Tar Heels’ struggles throughout the night against Jim Christian’s Eagles, and North Carolina was in position to suffer a stunning setback. Yet in the end North Carolina won 68-65, thanks to a timely four-point play from Marcus Paige and 20 points from sophomore forward Justin Jackson.

Due to his recent shooting slump Paige has been the most often discussed Tar Heel of late, but given his overall track record there were few who thought he wouldn’t find a way to turn things around. He is North Carolina’s best player, and ultimately how far the Tar Heels go this spring will depend upon how well Paige plays. But he can’t do it all alone, and in the case of Jackson the Tar Heels have a gifted wing capable of making plays offensively…when he chooses to do so.

Against Boston College an aggression that hasn’t been seen from Jackson on a consistent basis this season, since a stretch in late November of three straight games of 20 points or more, was present. He attacked the Boston College defense on a night in which North Carolina’s perimeter shots once again missed the mark (5-for-16 3PT), scoring 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the field. The benching seemingly lit a fire under Jackson, giving North Carolina a much-needed boost in a game that turned out to be far more difficult than many expected.

The question now is what Jackson does to build on this performance. The skill is there, but this is a matter of having the mindset needed to make plays without being prodded. Brice Johnson has struggled with similar issues throughout his career, but he put forth the best basketball of his career earlier this season with Kennedy Meeks out of the lineup.

North Carolina struggled for much of the night, even before Williams had to leave the sidelines, and that cannot be glossed over. The Tar Heels have the talent needed to produce better performances than this, one that nearly led to them losing a game they were expected to win convincingly. But there is the positive of Jackson’s performance to take from it, as he looked to attack the Boston College defense consistently and experienced success in doing so.

The Tar Heels will face tougher competition in their remaining ACC games, and with that comes the need to have Jackson continue to play at this level. Tuesday night represents a step forward for Jackson, but how big of a step that is will be determined by what he does over the next month.

No. 19 Louisville rolls past Boston College 79-47

Surrounded by teammates, Louisville graduate students Damion Lee, seated left, and Trey Lewis meet with reporters during a press conference, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, in Louisville Ky.  The president of Louisville announced a one-year postseason ban Friday for the Cardinals men’s basketball team amid ongoing investigations into a sex scandal, a decision that stunned coach Rick Pitino. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) Trey Lewis scored 16 points and Deng Adel added 13 as No. 19 Louisville routed Boston College 79-47 on Saturday, a day after the school imposed a postseason ban for recruiting violations.

The Cardinals (19-4, 8-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) followed up Monday’s upset of No. 2 North Carolina with a lopsided win despite uneven stretches. The absence of leading scorer Damion Lee (bruised knee) impacted their rotation, but plenty of teammates stepped up to fill the void in an emotional game.

Several baskets by Lewis midway through the second half help spark a 10-0 run that got Louisville back out to a comfortable lead en route to keeping the Eagles (7-16, 0-10) winless in league play.

Donovan Mitchell added 10 points, Quentin Snider and Jaylen Johnson each had nine and Chinanu Onuaku added eight with 13 rebounds.

Sammy Barnes-Thompkins scored 11 points for Boston College before fouling out.

Even with their top scorer on the bench in street clothes, the Cardinals got the dominant win they wanted one day after an announcement by Louisville’s president that the team would not play in either the ACC or NCAA tournaments. President James Ramsey said an investigation revealed that violations did occur when the school reviewed allegations by escort Katina Powell that former staffer Andre McGee paid her and other dancers to strip and have sex with recruits and players.

Lee and Lewis – graduate transfers who came to Louisville with hopes of playing in the tournament – said the team wanted to make the most of its nine remaining games with a focus on holding serve at home. Other than a few lapses that allowed Boston College to get within single digits, the Cardinals used most of their bench to that end.

The Cardinals made 16 of 26 from the field after intermission to finish at 51 percent. They controlled the paint 44-20 and out-rebounded Boston College 38-30.

Louisville’s reserves outscored the Eagles 24-12, chipping in some key points for a 32-14 lead at the break despite 42 percent shooting. Johnson’s seven points led nine Cardinal scorers and featured a 3-pointer by reserve David Levitch late in the half.

Boston College meanwhile started 1 of 7 from the field and shot just 30 percent in a first half, which included 11 turnovers leading to 12 Louisville points. Those struggles made it easy for the Cardinals to mount a 17-0 run over 4:05 for a 19-2 lead and an advantage that reached 19.

The Eagles showed some life early in the second half with five straight baskets to get within 37-28 and create some uneasiness before Lewis took charge.

TIP-INS

Boston College: Dennis Clifford added nine points for the Eagles, who shot 39 percent. … Saturday’s game ended a three-game road stretch against ranked teams.

Louisville: The Cardinals’ 1956 NIT Championship team was honored in a halftime ceremony that featured several members. … Louisville took a 4-3 lead in the series and remained unbeaten at home against BC.

UP NEXT:

Boston College: Hosts No. 2 North Carolina on Tuesday.

Louisville: Visits Duke on Monday.

No. 2 UNC rolls to 12th straight win, 89-62 over BC

North Carolina's Brice Johnson (11) reacts following a basket as Boston College's A.J. Turner (11) looks on during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016. North Carolina won 89-62. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
AP Photo/Gerry Broome
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) No. 2 North Carolina kept taking the ball from Boston College. Marcus Paige finally saw it go through the net.

The Tar Heels won their 12th straight game, forcing a season-best 23 turnovers in an 89-62 victory over the Eagles on Saturday.

Paige had 12 points in his highest-scoring game in three weeks, hitting three 3-pointers after making just one in his previous four games. After swishing the first 3 he tried, he shot a look of relief toward the Smith Center roof.

“I want you to go to the gym, miss 20-some in a row, then make one and have the whole arena cheer for you, just so you know how it feels,” Paige said with a laugh. “I’ve never missed that many shots in a row in my life, so just to finally get people (cheering), it was very relieving.”

Brice Johnson had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Joel Berry II added 13 points for the Tar Heels (19-2, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). After shaking off a slow start, the ACC’s leaders routed the league’s last-place team by turning those takeaways into 30 points.

Eli Carter had 19 points to lead the Eagles (7-14, 0-7), who were without guards Jerome Robinson (wrist injury) and Darryl Hicks (concussion). They shot 44 percent and hit 10 3-pointers but couldn’t overcome that season-worst turnover total while losing both their eighth straight overall and eighth in a row in the series.

“I thought defensively, we played hard, just offensively, we turned the ball over,” coach Jim Christian said. “We’re really short-handed. … A lot of them were on-ball turnovers, ballhandling turnovers. That was the difference in the game, obviously.”

The Tar Heels took care of the easy part of their schedule, and now things are about to get tougher, starting with Monday’s trip to No. 16 Louisville. After facing no team ranked in the AP Top 25 through their first eight ACC games, the Tar Heels will have six against teams currently ranked during the month of February.

For Paige, a few shots finally started to fall. He finished 4 of 9 and was 3 of 8 from 3-point range, a drastic improvement over his last few games. He was 5 of 35 from the field and 1 of 22 from 3-point range during the four games that followed his 30-point outburst at Florida State on Jan. 4.

North Carolina took control of this one late in the first half, reeling off 15 straight points to build a comfortable lead. Johnson hit a jumper from the key one possession before he capped the run with two free throws that made it 39-23 with 3:45 left. Berry then pushed the lead into the 20s for the first time with his three-point play made it 50-30 with 15:03 to play.

A BIG GREEN ROOM?

Most of North Carolina’s students wore neon-green T-shirts and ski caps as part of the school’s recycling campaign, with the shirts made from recycled plastic bottles. It made for an odd juxtaposition with Tar Heels coach Roy Williams’ criticism a day earlier of ESPN’s “frickin’ green room” and how the network touts NBA prospects playing in college games.

TIP-INS

Boston College: The Eagles started what might be the toughest three-game conference road swing in the country. After this one, they go to No. 11 Virginia and No. 16 Louisville. Those three have an average rank of No. 6 in Ken Pomeroy’s advanced stat rankings.

North Carolina: The Tar Heels missed their first eight free throws and nine of their first 10. … Kennedy Meeks did not start because he was late to the team’s shoot-around. Isaiah Hicks started in his place, while Meeks finished with eight points in 15 minutes.

UP NEXT

Boston College: visits No. 11 Virginia on Wednesday night.

North Carolina: visits No. 16 Louisville on Monday night.

Follow Joedy McCreary at http://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

AP college basketball site: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

No. 15 Miami halts 2-game skid with 67-53 win over BC

Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga gathers his team around him after calling a timeout late the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Boston College, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, in Boston. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
AP Photo/Stephan Savoia
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BOSTON (AP) Sheldon McClellan scored 19 points, Ja’Quan Newton had 12 and No. 15 Miami rebounded from consecutive losses with a 67-53 win over Boston College on Wednesday night.

It was the 11th straight victory for the Hurricanes (14-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) against Boston College. Tonye Jekiri matched his career high with 17 rebounds, and Angel Rodriguez scored 12 points.

Jerome Robinson led the Eagles (7-11, 0-5) with 20 points and leading scorer Eli Carter had 12 on 4-for-18 shooting.

It was BC’s fifth straight loss. The previous four – all in conference games – were by an average of 22.5 points.

Closing a stretch of three road games in nine days, Miami rode a solid start in the second half by Rodriguez, who scored nine points to help the Hurricanes open a 45-35 lead with 14:15 to play.

BC sliced it to 45-41 on Darryl Hicks’ 3-pointer from the right corner with just more than 14 minutes to play.

Miami, which seemed to be relaxing on the defensive end of the floor on many possessions early in the second half, pushed its lead to 56-49 on Newton’s baseline jumper with 5:45 to go.

The Eagles never trimmed their deficit below five points the rest of the way. They didn’t have a basket in the final 7 minutes.

In the first half, the Hurricanes pounded the ball inside early and took advantage of nine BC turnovers in the opening 11 minutes to build a six-point edge before the Eagles answered with a 10-1 spree.

Miami closed the half by scoring eight of the final 12 points to grab a 29-28 advantage at halftime.

Neither team was crisp offensively in the opening 20 minutes, at times turning the ball over on consecutive possessions.

TIP-INS

Miami: The Hurricanes lost road games at Virginia and Clemson in their previous two. . Coach Jim Larranaga improved to 9-0 against BC since taking over the Hurricanes.

Boston College: Carter entered third in the conference in scoring at 17.6 points per game. He had 31 in a loss at then-No. 20 Pittsburgh on Saturday.

HONOREE

BC honored wounded veteran Cedric King at halftime, playing a video tribute from First Lady Michelle Obama. King then walked out to center court to a long standing ovation. It was part of Military Appreciation Night.

UP NEXT

Miami hosts Wake Forest on Saturday.

Boston College plays at Notre Dame on Saturday.

No. 15 Duke beats Boston College 81-64 in ACC opener

Duke guard Brandon Ingram (14) shoots the ball over the reach of Boston College forward A.J. Turner (11) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Boston. Duke beat Boston College 81-64. (AP Photo/Gretchen Ertl)
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BOSTON (AP) Grayson Allen intercepted a pass and went in for a dunk so emphatic that the ball, after passing through the net, bounced off his head and wound up a half-dozen rows back in the stands.

The Duke guard fell to the court with a thud.

“(He’s) powerful, and then he’s fearless. So he goes with a little bit of a reckless abandon,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said after the 15th-ranked Blue Devils beat Boston College 81-64 in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.

“He usually is either knocked to the floor or he falls to the floor because of those Herculean plays that he makes,” Krzyzewski said.

Allen does the same thing in practice, but his coach doesn’t dare tell him to take it easy.

“I think you have a greater chance of getting hurt by tempering your natural instincts,” Krzyzewski said.

Allen had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Blue Devils (12-2), and Brandon Ingram finished with 25 points and nine rebounds. Duke fell behind by six points early in its first true road game of the season before scoring 20 of the next 25 points.

“I think we had a little bit of nervousness at the beginning,” Allen said. “But first time playing on someone’s home court, first ACC game, that’s expected.”

Luke Kennard added 17 points, and Matt Jones had 16 to help Duke beat BC for the 10th consecutive time.

Eli Carter scored 19 points for Boston College (7-7, 0-1), and Jerome Robinson had 15 points and seven rebounds.

BC led 12-6 with 7 minutes gone in the game before Derryck Thornton made a jumper on an assist from Allen and then Jones made a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to one point. Allen then stole the ball from Robinson and took it in for a dunk to give Duke its first lead of the game.

Allen was slow to get up after landing hard among the media sitting courtside.

It was 18-17 Duke before the Blue Devils made eight consecutive free throws. Duke scored the last five points of the first half to take a 37-24 lead.

The Eagles ran off 10 straight points in the second half to cut a 21-point deficit to 57-46. But after Duke called timeout, Allen hit a free throw and then had another steal that led to a three-point play.

GOING STREAKING

Ingram was one point off his career high. He entered the game averaging 21.3 points and 8.2 rebounds in his past six games. The 6-foot-9, 190-pound forward has topped the 20-point mark and led the Blue Devils in five of the past seven games.

One of seven freshmen on the roster, Ingram got his first taste of an ACC road game.

“It felt very different,” he said. “We knew it was a hostile environment coming in here. It was our first ACC game, so we knew we had to play our hardest.”

COMPLIMENTARY K

Krzyzewski took time out during the postgame handshakes to praise BC center Dennis Clifford, who played limited minutes as a sophomore and then missed almost his entire junior year because of damage to the cartilage in both knees.

“I can remember coming up here a few years ago, and Clifford could hardly walk,” Krzyzewski said. “He must have done a lot of stuff, because he moves well. I admire that, that kids’ commitment, and his commitment to BC.”

Clifford said he hears that from other coaches often, but it’s a nice compliment from a basketball Hall of Famer.

“I appreciate every time somebody shouts me out because of all I’ve been through,” Clifford said.

TIP-INS

Duke: The Blue Devils improved to 19-2 against BC. … Duke is 28-8 in ACC openers under Krzyzewski. … The Blue Devils made just 3 of 13 attempts from 3-point range in the first half. … Duke is 19-0 when Allen scores in double figures since the start of last season.

Boston College: BC last beat Duke on Feb. 15, 2009, when the Blue Devils were ranked sixth in The Associated Press’ Top 25.

UP NEXT

Duke: at Wake Forest on Wednesday night.

Boston College: hosts Notre Dame on Thursday night.

VIDEO: Boston College walk-on Perpiglia given a scholarship

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Tuesday afternoon Boston College picked up its third consecutive win of the season, as they beat Fordham 64-55 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The game represented one of the best defensive performance of the season for Jim Christian’s team, as they limited the Rams to 32.1 percent shooting from the field (31.3 percent from two) and forced Fordham 14 turnovers.

And after congratulating his team on their performance Christian took a minute to reward a hard-working senior walk-on. Steve Perpiglia, who’s played in 29 games at Boston College, was given the Christmas gift of a scholarship for his final semester. Of course the reaction of his teammates is great, but so are the reactions of his family and friends after Perpiglia’s head coach gave them the good news.

Video of the postgame speech is above.