Boston College coach Steve Donahue knows nothing is easy when you’re trying to rebuild from a miserable season.
And Saturday’s win against Clemson was proof of that.
Freshman Joe Rahon scored a season-high 26 points and Boston College snapped a five-game losing streak with a 75-68 victory against Clemson despite nearly blowing a 17-point lead in the closing 51/2 minutes.
“People will say, ‘It wasn’t pretty,’ ” Donahue said. “I’m happy with this win. It was pretty enough.”
The Eagles (10-11, 2-6 ACC) surpassed their victory total of last season, when they went 9-22.
Lonnie Jackson nailed four clutch free throws to finish with 14 points for Boston College, and Ryan Anderson had a pair of key baskets late and scored 12 points.
Donahue believes his team should be feeling better after hanging on, despite its recent struggles.
“Every positive thing is crucial in everything we’re doing,” he said.
Devin Booker scored 19 points and became the 36th player in Clemson history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, joining older brother Trevor (2009) as the second brother combo in school history. Randy and Richie Mahaffey did it in the 1960s.
The Tigers (12-9, 4-5) were shooting near 30 percent until they started to hit from long range in the closing 7 minutes, but it came too late.
Clemson’s poor start frustrated coach Brad Brownell.
“We missed a bunch of makeable shots at the beginning of the game. A lot of them were very makeable,” he said. “Those are shots you just have to make to put pressure on the opponent. We made some — too little, too late.”
Milton Jennings had 13 points and Jordan Roper 11 for the Tigers, who had won their previous two games.
Jackson’s 3-pointer from the left wing gave BC a 65-48 lead, but the Tigers scored the next 13 points, slicing the deficit to four on Jennings’ jumper with 2:32 left.
Adonis Filer’s 3 cut it to 67-66 with 75 seconds left, but Anderson followed with a layup off Rahon’s pass on the Eagles’ ensuing possession.
Jennings’ long 3-point attempt then went off the front rim before Jackson sealed it by hitting four free throws in the final 30 seconds.
The Tigers fell to 4-7 in games away from Littlejohn Coliseum.
“We didn’t come out ready to play and, sure we made a late run, but it wasn’t enough,” Roper said. “You just have to come out and play your best.”
Percentages: FG .396, FT .818. 3-Point Goals: 8-19, .421 (Roper 3-7, Jennings 2-4, Filer 2-4, Harrison 1-3, McDaniels 0-1). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 3 (Jennings, Filer, McDaniels). Turnovers: 15 (Hall 4, Booker 3, Jennings 2, McDaniels 2, Sullivan, Harrison, Filer). Steals: 4 (Jennings, Roper, Filer, McDaniels). Technical Fouls: Booker.
Percentages: FG .578, FT .500. 3-Point Goals: 11-20, .550 (Rahon 6-7, Jackson 2-6, Rubin 1-1, Odio 1-2, Hanlan 1-2, Van Nest 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 2 (Odio 2). Turnovers: 14 (Rahon 4, Jackson 3, Hanlan 3, Odio 2, Anderson 2). Steals: 8 (Odio 3, Heckmann 2, Hanlan, Van Nest, Anderson). Technical Fouls: None.
Att.–5,278. Officials–Brian Dorsey, Bryan Kersey, Gary Maxwell.