GAME NOTES: The Boston College Eagles and Maryland Terrapins get their ACC schedules underway, as the two teams square off at the Conte Forum on Thursday evening.
Mark Turgeon's Terrapins have certainly had their highs and lows this season already. Maryland captured its first in-season tournament title since 2006 by winning the Paradise Jam a couple of weeks ago in St. Thomas, but enters this contest on a two-game skid, falling to Ohio State (76-60) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and most recently, to George Washington (77-75) in the BB&T Classic. With the losses, Maryland is now 5-4 on the campaign.
Steve Donahue's Eagles have experienced many more lows than highs in the early going. Boston College won only three of its seven games in the month of November and has failed to add to that win total in December yet, with back- to-back lopsided losses at Purdue (88-67) and at USC (78-62).
The Eagles hold a slim 9-8 advantage in the all-time series with the Terrapins. The two teams split a pair of games a year ago, with each winning on its home floor.
The Terrapins used a 19-2 run late to tie the game with George Washington in the final minute of action, but the Colonials hit a buzzer-beater to thwart the comeback and hand Maryland a devastating loss at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Four Terps notched double figures in the loss, led by Dez Wells' 16 points. Jake Layman added 13 points, while Evan Smotrycz and Roddy Peters tallied 11 each.
Maryland isn't a team that is going to overwhelm many foes on the offensive end. The Terrapins are putting up modest numbers there, averaging 72.8 ppg on .443 shooting. Where the team has played well and usually has an advantage is defensively and on the glass. Opponents are being held to 65.3 ppg and just over 40 percent shooting, while Maryland claims a +7.1 rebounding margin. Layman (14.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Smotrycz (13.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg) give the team a solid frontcourt tandem, with forward Charles Mitchell (9.4 ppg, 7.1 rpg) providing even more depth off the bench. The backcourt play is led by Wells (13.9 ppg) and fellow guard Nick Faust (8.8 ppg).
While Maryland is led by strong defensive principles, Boston College is almost exclusively an offensive-minded squad, that has shown little in terms of defensive tenacity. The Eagles are scoring at a high rate, putting up 76.4 ppg on .452 shooting, but opponents are doing it even better, averaging 80.6 ppg against BC, on .474 shooting. Still, the team has one of the most productive pairs of scorers in the conference in guard Olivier Hanlan (19.2 ppg) and forward Ryan Anderson (18.0 ppg). Joe Rahon (12.0 ppg) gives the team a third option offensively, but depth is hard to find beyond that. Lonnie Jackson is next in line after Rahon at a mere 6.3 ppg.
Last time out it was a tale of two halves, as BC went toe-to-toe with USC over the first 20 minutes of action, tied at the half 32-32. The second half saw the Trojans open on an 11-3 run and never look back, as the Eagles lost their way after the break. Anderson led the team with 13 points. Rahon and KC Caudill added 11 points each, but Hanlan struggled coming off the bench for the first time this season, finishing with just six points in 29 minutes of work.
Hanlan needs to be much more involved in the offensive flow for Boston College to contend in most games. The way Maryland plays defense however, may limit BC's star guard and if that happens, the Eagles' lack of offensive depth will be their undoing.
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