BOSTON (AP) — Boston College’s success is clearly defined by its shooting behind the 3-point line. Lonnie Jackson took it a few feet farther back when the Eagles needed a key basket Saturday.
Jackson hit three 3-pointers in the second half, including a long one with 4:11 to play, and finished with 13 points to help Boston College pull out a 72-64 victory over St. Francis (N.Y.).
With BC clinging to a 59-58 edge, Jackson nailed a 3 from about two feet behind the line at the top of the key. Patrick Heckmann then had a steal at midcourt and went in for a breakaway dunk, giving the Eagles a 64-58 lead with 3:51 to play.
‘‘Everybody knows how important the 3s are to us,’’ Boston College coach Steve Donahue said before explaining that he'd like to see Jackson shoot his more often.
‘‘He waits sometimes. He has to be totally squared up,’’ Donahue said. ‘‘There are times where you have to catch it and let it go. I know it was well beyond the NBA line, but it doesn’t have be where the toe is just behind the line for him. He had a wide-open look.’’
Heckmann paced the Eagles with 18 points, while Olivier Hanlan had 13 and Joe Rahon 12. BC was 8 for 23 from beyond the arc.
Jackson feels he’s out of an early-season shooting slump and ready to take the 3 when it’s open. He went a combined 2 for 13 in two of the first three games.
‘‘At the beginning of the season I struggled a little,’’ he said. ‘‘The last three, four games I think I've got it figured out.’’
And he knew he was well back when he shot the key basket late in the game.
‘‘Coach just tells me if I'm open, just shoot it,’’ he said, smiling. ‘‘I saw a little opening, so I just let it go.’’
The Terriers never got closer than four points after Jackson’s basket.
Boston College (4-5) avoided losing to a team from the Northeast Conference for the second time this season. The Eagles fell at home to Bryant on Nov. 25.
Jalen Cannon led St. Francis (2-5) with 23 points and 13 rebounds. The Terriers lost for the fifth time in six games.
‘‘We had a chance. We’re trying to learn to play 40 minutes,’’ Terriers coach Glenn Braica said. ‘‘We've got some young guys; we have to understand how hard it is to win at this level. We've got to extend ourselves more. I think we’re going to be OK, but we have to buy into that and guys have to correct some mistakes.’’
St. Francis was playing without senior point guard Dre Calloway, who was sidelined with a foot injury.
‘‘We've got a lot of guys back, but we have guys in different roles — it’s different when you’re a 10-minute guy and a 25-minute guy or a 30-minute guy,’’ Braica said. ‘‘We need guys to just get comfortable in those roles and learn to extend their effort.’’
Trailing 48-39 early in the second half, the Eagles went on a 20-4 run over a 6-minute stretch. Jackson helped trigger the run with a pair of 3-pointers just 42 seconds apart. Andrew Van Nest had a pair of lay-ups and Rahon scored six points, capping it with a 3 from the left wing.
The Terriers, who led by two points at intermission, opened the second half by scoring the initial seven points for a 42-33 edge on Cannon’s jumper with just over 18 minutes to play.
Anthony White’s driving basket with 1.7 seconds left gave St. Francis a 35-33 halftime edge. The Eagles had opened a 27-20 lead before the Terriers scored 15 of the 21 final points in the half.
The Eagles were outrebounded overall (21-15) and collected just two offensive rebounds in the opening 20 minutes. In addition, they had no second-chance points.
BC starting center Dennis Clifford missed his second straight game with a right ankle injury and was on the bench with his foot in a boot. Donahue said after the last game that he thought the 7-footer would be out ‘‘a couple of weeks.’’
The Eagles don’t open Atlantic Coast Conference play until they host No. 25 North Carolina State on Jan. 5.