Maryland simply could not afford a bad effort against Boston College due to sloppy play like the loss that the Terps endured last Saturday in Chapel Hill, NC. Maryland still wasn’t perfect with regard to taking care of the basketball but they were better than the display they put on against UNC and it turned out to be good enough for the Terps third victory in ACC play to move to 15-4 overall and 3-3 inside the conference.
Maryland had a distinct size advantage throughout the game which forced Boston College to try and do the bulk of their damage from the outside. The Eagles took 56 shots on the night and half of them (28) were attempts from beyond the three point line. Of those 28 attmepts from beyond the arc the Eagles were only able to convert on nine, giving them a shooting percentage of 32.1% from the outside. The phrase that “a team can live and die by the three” sums up the Eagles game last night. Boston College knew their only chance at beating Maryland came from “living and dying” with the three point shot. Unfortunately for the Eagles, they died because of it at Comcast last night.
The turnover bug didn’t kill Maryland like it did against North Carolina, however, that isn’t to say that it was not a major contributing factor in this game being as close of a final as it was. The Terps gave the ball away 14 times last night while only managing to compile 15 assists as a team. Dez Wells led the Terps with 8 of those 15 assists while committing three turnovers. The rest of the Maryland backcourt had trouble finding their teammates in positions where they could be successful as Nick Faust finished the game with one assist to four turnovers, Pe’Shon Howard finished with two assists to one turnover and Seth Allen had two assists and no turnovers. The backcourt collectively needs to do better than thirteen assists and eight turnovers if the Terps want to compete for the ACC crown this season.
Maryland had three players score in double figures led by Alex Len who paced the Terps with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Jake Layman (15 points) and Nick Faust (11 points) were the only other Terps to top the 10 point mark against Boston College. As a team, Maryland shot 25-59 (42.4%) from the field and 7-17 (41.2%) from three point range. I am also sure that the fact Maryland only managed to go 7-12 from the foul line to the tune of 58.3% was not lost on Mark Turgeon as he addressed his team after the game. These numbers, especially the shooting percentage from three point range, are largely up from the UNC game but they are not where the Terps need to ultimately be. The revolving door at the point guard position certainly has something to do with this and until the plan at that position going forward is set in stone I expect the Terps to continue to have up and down nights on the offensive end.
The Terps appeared to have BC on the ropes late in the first half but a furious rally, sparked by the Eagles connecting on five out of six three point attempts in successive trips down the floor, brought the teams to the half tied at 29. I am not sure as to what was said at halftime by Mark Turgeon but the Terps, Alex Len specifically, had a different type of intensity during the second stanza.
I don’t want to call it a mean streak, because saying a European big man has a mean streak just doesn’t sound right to me, but something clicked with Len in that second half and he was more agressive in trying to get to his shot than I have seen in quite some time. Len has been quoted as saying he prefers playing against bigger players, much like himself, rather than the smaller front line that many teams, including Boston College, have put against the Terps this year. I am not sure as to what made Len click but last night, specifically in the second half, he had the look of a big man who knew he had a distinct advantage on the competition and wanted to crush them because of it.
Len’s aggressiveness, as I have been predicting for weeks now, made it easier for his teammates to get better looks at the basket as the Eagles had to pay so much attention to trying to contain Len on the inside. As we all now look forward to the Terps next contest against the, oh so loved, Duke Blue Devils the matchup that fans and media alike will certainly have their eye on will be the battle in the post between two of the conference’s premier big men in Alex Len and Mason Plumlee. Maryland fans will have to hope that this same Alex Len that we saw dunking on players and then not backing down when they tried to get in his face will be the one who makes the trip to Durham because the Terps will need Len to be aggressive once they take the floor at Cameron Indoor.