Maryland cruises to 73-57 win over Boston College
Laughter could be heard pouring out of the visiting locker room during Maryland Coach Gary Williams's postgame press conference Saturday afternoon. And there was good reason for all the merriment.
The Terrapins had just dominated their opponent from start to finish and sit at 2-1 in ACC play after the first week of their conference slate. They also had erased any lingering memories from last season's second-half collapse against Boston College at Comcast Center. And to top it off, Maryland matched its largest margin of victory in a conference road game since 2002.
As far as 16-point wins go, this one seemed to satisfy the Terrapins greatly.
"All the guys played," Coach Gary Williams said. "It’s really fulfilling as a coach when you see your team go out there and play like that."
Compare that to Boston College Coach Al Skinner's assessment of his team ...
"Usually I can walk down here satisfied and comfortable with our effort," Skinner said. "And I’m not. For me it’s a terrible place to be. Very rarely have I felt lack of effort. Everyone thinks I’m laid back, but this is the one part of the game that’s very disturbing to me."
... and you get a sense of what kind of game took place this afternoon at Conte Forum.
1) Complete performance. It wasn't that Maryland nearly pressed Boston College into submission in the first half. It wasn't that Maryland led by as many as 25 points in the second half. It was that, throughout a game in which it would have been easy to lose focus, the Terrapins did so only briefly. Other than the final three minutes of the first half -- when Boston College went on an 8-0 run to cut Maryland's lead to 10 -- the Terrapins were in complete and utter control all game. Part of that had to do with Boston College ...
"They walked around like they wasn’t even playing hard," junior guard Adrian Bowie said. "And once we seen that, you’ve definitely got to attack that."
... and just as much had to do with Maryland ...
"They seemed like they didn’t want to play and we wanted this game," Bowie continued, "so we wanted to show it."
2) Defensive pressure. Maryland might be better suited as an inside-out team this season, but against Boston College the Terrapins knew that the best way to disrupt their opponent was to press-and-run. The Eagles prefer a low-possession game, not the up-tempo scurry that took place Saturday. Maryland tallied 12 steals and forced Boston College to commit 18 turnovers. That translated into the Terrapins out-scoring the Eagles in fast break points (20-4), as well as points in the paint (34-10).
"Once we seen they couldn’t handle the press, we was going to press ‘em the whole game," Bowie said. "We had to win this game. It was a must-win, so we was going to press as much as possible."
3) Bench play. Bowie and junior guard Cliff Tucker combined to score 29 points in reserve against the Eagles. Bowie finished with 15 points on 6 of 13 shooting, while Tucker registered 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting. The duo shot a combined 4 for 5 from three-point range. Gary Williams also lauded the play of Dino Gregory, who tallied one point, one rebound, one assist, two blocks and two steals in 27 minutes.
1) Close-range shots. Maryland shot 49.1 percent from the field Saturday, which certainly qualifies as a good shooting performance. But that percentage would have been even more impressive had the Terrapins converted a few more of the abundant close-range shots their defensive pressure afforded them. Lay-ups, runners, put-backs, short jumpers -- it sometimes seemed as though the rim was trying its best to keep the game competitive by preventing Maryland from capitalizing on all of its easy offensive opportunities.
2) Backcourt foul trouble. Sophomore guard Sean Mosley and senior guard Eric Hayes each picked up two fouls in the first half, which necessitated extended playing time for Bowie and Tucker. That, as it turned out, wasn't a bad thing at all. Still, Hayes and Mosley are two players Gary Williams would like to have out on the court as much as possible and foul trouble obviously hampers him in that regard. Hayes finished with seven points. Mosley tallied six points and six rebounds. It also should be noted that Bowie registered four fouls of his own, so the issue was not limited to Hayes and Mosley.
3) Final three minutes of the first half. Am I nit-picking at this point? Most likely. But it's worth mentioning that Gary Williams admitted to being concerned when Boston College went on its 8-0 run to close Maryland's lead to 10 at halftime.
"I was scared," Williams said. "I remember last year’s game very well and watching that tape, trying to figure out why we lost that lead last year. Here they go again. They get it to 10 at halftime. You know the old saying, 'If you can get it to 10, it’s anybody’s game.'"
The Terrapins erased much of Williams's anxiety early in the second half and did not entertain any serious thoughts of a Boston College comeback this time around.
"I was proud of the guys coming out of halftime," Williams said. "We came out of halftime the way we did the start of the game, so that kind of took it right away. It took away whatever momentum they had at the start of the second half."
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