NEWTON, Mass. -- Joe Trapani is second on the Boston College Eagles in scoring average (13.9) this season, but while many discussions of his contributions may begin on the offensive end they certainly shouldn’t end there.
The 6-foot-8 senior from Madison, Conn., is among the team leaders in a number of defensive categories. He averages 6.3 rebounds (second on the team behind Corey Raji’s 6.9), 1.9 assists (tied for third with Raji), 0.8 blocks (first) and 0.8 steals (second behind Reggie Jackson’s 1.3).
And though his shot wasn’t falling against the Yellow Jackets on Saturday (just 2-for-7 from the field, 0-for-2 from 3 and 2-for-5 from the free throw line), Trapani made sure his presence was felt on the other end.
“I thought he had huge defensive rebounds and I thought he played terrific defense,” Eagles coach Steve Donahue said of Trapani, who tied Raji for the game high with nine rebounds. “I think he’s a little frustrated with his foul shooting, but I think we’ll get that straightened out. He gave us a ton on the defensive end. If we can continue to get those kind of efforts on the defensive side and [in] rebounding and do all the dirty plays, as you can see the offensive numbers are terrific usually.
“I’m pretty confident that when we get stops we’re very good in transition and when good things happen it’s obviously [because of] the defensive side.”
While Trapani -- and the rest of the Eagles -- struggled at times to stop Tech freshman big man Kammeon Holsey, who scored a career-high 14 points in the first half and finished with 18 for the game, the grit Trapani displayed battling the lanky Yellow Jackets for rebounds made the difference.
Georgia Tech entered the game with an offensive rebound percentage of 34.0; the Eagles held the Yellow Jackets below that average, allowing the visitors to grab 11 of a possible 36 offensive rebounds (30.5 percent). With a game-high seven defensive rebounds, Trapani had an obvious hand in that.
Moton on the money
After the 86-75 win, Donahue had nothing but good things to say about freshman guard Gabe Moton.
“I thought he had great toughness, a couple offensive rebounds he went after, I thought he guarded,” Donahue said. “And that’s another kid that we really need, especially if you think about it we’re putting a lot on him in a game like this -- one of his first ACC games, and our best player is out and I’ve got to go with Gabe Moton. I thought he gave us great minutes.”
In 24 minutes off the bench, Moton scored five points, grabbed three rebounds (two offensive), produced two steals and only one turnover. One of the steals led to a crowd-pleasing play.
Moton jumped a passing lane, snatched the ball away and led a three-on-two break down the left side of the lane with Biko Paris filling the right side and Raji trailing. Moton drew the defense and kicked across the lane to Paris, who caught the ball and immediately spun it around his back and delivered a perfect bounce pass to Raji for the layup and the foul.
Jackson on the list
Having already been honored once this season as the ACC player of the week (for the week ending Dec. 12), Jackson received another plaudit Thursday: The junior guard was named to the midseason list of candidates for the prestigious John R. Wooden Award.
Averaging 18.6 points, 4.6 assists and 4.4 rebounds a game in his third season at BC, Jackson is one of five ACC players on the 30-player list. The other ACCers named were Malcolm Delany (Virginia Tech), Kyle Singler (Duke), Nolan Smith (Duke) and Jordan Williams (Maryland).
Jackson ranks in the top 10 in the ACC in eight categories: scoring (second, 18.9), field goal percentage (second, 54.8), assists (second, 4.6), free throw percentage (10th, 78.5), 3-point percentage (second, 48.6), 3-pointers made (seventh, 2.2), assist-to-turnover ratio (tied for sixth, 2.0) and minutes (second, 34.0).
Jackson’s streak of 17 straight games with a made 3-pointer is tied with Clemson’s Andre Young for the longest in the ACC.
The Eagles host NC State at Conte Forum on Tuesday (9 p.m. ESPNU). The Wolfpack (11-4) defeated Wake Forest 90-69 in Raleigh, N.C., on Saturday.