Saturday, February 12, 2011, 3:14 pm
MARYLAND PAGE MARYLAND VIDEO
By Chris Knoche
Its now official. The Boston College Eagles have officially established themselves as Villain number One as it applies to the post season aspirations of the Maryland Terrapins. They are the Boris Badenov to the Terrapins Bullwinkle, the Goldfinger to Marylands James Bond. The difference being that those villains were fictitious while the Eagles, unfortunately, are very, very real.
In todays entertaining matchup at the Conte Forum at Boston College, Boston College guard Reggie Williams scored a career high 31 points as the Eagles rallied in the second half to defeat the Terps 76-72. The win improved the Eagles to 16-9 overall and 6-5 in ACC play and dropped Maryland to 16-9 and 5-5 with another critical road game looming on Tuesday at Virginia Tech.
Williams was able to establish himself early in the game and then able to close it out in the most critical possessions over the last five minutes. He shot 12-16 from the field including an important 5-7 from the three point line on an afternoon where a number of his teammates struggled shooting behind the arc. There were fully four Terrapin guards who had a chance to slow Jackson and he ended up toying with each.
As villains go, if BC is ranked first in that poll, the Terps themselves would probably be ranked a sold number 2. They have had repeated opportunities this year to establish themselves on a national level as a team to be reckoned with and failed each time. To date they are 16-1 against teams outside of the top 50 but a dreadful 0-8 against those ranked in the top 50. Simply put, that will not get it done.
Boston College opened the game on a quick 5-0 run that was countered by nine consecutive Maryland points. After a quick timeout the Eagles settled down and began to run their spread offense and hit their signature three point shots. At one point they hit 4 of 5 from deep and raced to a 24-16 advantage before Maryland broke back. Led by the stellar play of freshman point guard PeShon Howard and his three three pointers, the Terps used a prolonged 24-13 run over the last five minutes of the half to bolt to a 40-37 halftime lead. Jackson had 13 points in the half for BC on 5-6 shooting. The only shot he missed was a 75 foot heave at the buzzer that very nearly went in.
On this afternoon, it was surprising that it didnt.
The early portion of the second half offered a similar spirit to the first. Neither team seemed capable of slowing or stopping the other. With 11:54 remaining in the half, Maryland freshman Terrell Stoglin hit a jumper to give his team a 50-47 lead and the game seemed destined to come down to the last couple of possessions.
Too bad it did not.
After the Stoglin jumper, BC completely seized control of the game by going on a 16-2 run over the next five minutes and the score was 63-52 after a long three by Jackson by the time Maryland head coach Gary Williams was able to call a timeout to get his team to regroup.
In a game like this with the season in the balance during a critical time on the road, most teams would like to turn to their veteran leadership to take over the game. Unfortunately, Maryland seniors Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker struggled through horrid afternoons. Ultimately it was the gutty play of freshman guards Howard and Stoglin that gave the Terps a chance.
Howard scored five consecutive points and Stoglin assisted on a dunk by Dino Gregory (career high 15 points and 7 rebounds) and the visitors were within four at 63-59.
After an Eagle timeout, their veteran backcourt of Jackson and senior Biko Paris scored five points to seeming ly give the hosts some breathing room and a 68-59 lead. The Terps countered quickly with layups with five straight points scored by Stoglin and a layup by Mosley sandwiched around a pair of Paris free throws and the lead was 70-66 for BC.
BC patiently set up their half court offense and gave the ball to Jackson on a make-or-break possession at that point. He responded by pulling up well behind a high screed and burying a huge trifecta with barely a minute remaining on the clock
BC closed the remaining time out at the free throw line and the Terps were forced to watch another opportunity fall by the wayside. Eagle senior Joe Trapani hit three free throws over the last sixty seconds with the game already secured by Boston College. A Gregory jumper with 3 seconds remaining accounted for the final score of 76-72
The loss in Boston makes the Tuesday contest against Virginia Tech paramount. Then again, it is probably every bit as significant for Virginia Tech. While March Madness gets all of the hype in college basketball, it is actually these February moving days that will dictate what a team will be doing next month.
Maryland coach Gary Williams has pretty much seen it all over his 33 years of coach and has, no doubt, seen all sorts of late-season scenarios unfold. He will be adamant about preparing for each game individually and not to look past any opponent. He also says that no game is absolutely critical if it cant actually be your last one.
That said, even he would admit that his teams chances are dwindling and that the opportunities to establish themselves on a larger level now leave this team with very little margin for error.