A win at Boston College would've been a huge boost for the Maryland Terrapins' NCAA Tournament hopes. Reggie Jackson made sure they didn't get it. Jackson dropped a career-high 31 points to lead the Eagles over the Terrapins in a crucial matchup between ACC bubble teams, 76-72.
Boston College started the game on a 5-0 run, which Maryland answered with a 10-0 run of their own. BC hit five threes in the first eight minutes, but the Terrapins rebounded to take a two-point lead into halftime.
Boston College retook the lead early in the second half. Maryland had a predictable four-minute scoring drought midway through the half, during which BC stretched its lead up to 11. Maryland made a late run at it, thanks in large part to Pe'Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin, but the Eagles withstood the run, all but sealing the deal with a late three-pointer from Reggie Jackson.
Honestly, I was in a car (thought not driving) for much of the game, which is hardly a conducive environment to watching basketball. For that reason, the normal analysis after the games is going to have to be cut down a little. Apologies.
But one thing is pretty clear: the entire game was pretty bad for Maryland: offensively, they pulled up their FG shooting % late; but it was in the mid 30s for much of the game despite playing against supposedly the worst defensive team in the ACC; defensively, they allowed 48% shooting, including 39% from 3; and even rebounding was only average (Maryland had a +1 advantage, but BC is one of the conference's worst rebounding teams). Not a fun game to watch if you're a Maryland fan: their defense was exposed by ball movement, and their offense looked inept against a defense that was supposedly pretty bad. Thinking this team is probably NIT-bound isn't crazy after watching that performance.
A few more notes: Reggie Jackson is obviously just fantastic, and he lit Maryland up. Now, is he that good? Don't know. But Maryland just had no answer for him defensively, and you'd certainly expect more out of a team supposedly among the best in the country defensively.
Terrell Stoglin had a tough stretch in the second half, but all-in-all both he and Pe'Shon Howard played very well at point guard. Look: they're freshmen point guards. They're going to have ups and downs. Stoglin's playing style is especially conducive to it. But in the end, they combined for 28 points and 9 assists on 10-17 shooting with 4 TOs. The two were Maryland's scoring leaders; Howard hit four threes, while Stoglin captained Maryland's late run. I'm of the opinion that Maryland's offense is significantly smoother with Howard on the floor and Stoglin seems more prone to making mistakes, but the future is pretty bright with both. That said, they still need time to fully blossom.
I hate to single players out, but what a clunker of a performance today out of Cliff Tucker. He was held scoreless and threw in 3 turnovers for good measure. We're used to seeing Good Cliff and Bad Cliff on alternating games, but he'd been more consistent as of late. Maryland needs his scoring, and they definitely needed it today.
Dino Gregory was predictably great. Both Adrian Bowie (5 points on 2-8 shooting) and Sean Mosley (10 points, but on 5-12 shooting) were disappointing. And Boston College focused heavily on stopping Jordan Williams: after dropping a career-high 27 in the last meeting, he was held to 12 points and 8 boards today.
As for where this leaves Maryland: they're not done. Far from it. With games against UNC and VT still on the docket, they have their opportunities to get respectable wins. But if they struggle against BC, the worst of the trio, are they capable of beating both of those teams on the road without dropping an embarrassing game at home? Most would say no. We'll find out for sure in a few days, when they travel to Blacksburg, which is a must-win for all intents and purposes.
Again, this is lighter fare than normal, but I'm a) in a hurry and b) I didn't see all of the game. Again, apologies.