The early theme in the ACC has been unpredictability. For example, Georgia Tech went into Chapel Hill Saturday afternoon and delivered an eye-opening 73-71 win. Unfortunately, nobody batted an eye later in the day when Maryland handed Boston College its fourth loss in five games.
The Eagles struggled to match the athleticism of the Terps - stop me if you have heard that one before - with the jet-quick Greivis Vasquez (17 points, nine assists) leading the attack. Without Tyrese Rice, it is easy for BC fans to forget what an ACC caliber point guard looks like. On this day, Vasquez reminded them.
On to the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Strong Finish to the First Half
BC never led in this game, but did show some resolve after falling behind 38-20 with under four minutes left in the first half. The Eagles closed the half on an 8-0 run to make it a respectable 10 point deficit by halftime. Unfortunately, the momentum stopped there.
The Eagles won the rebounding battle 40-27 and outscored Maryland 16-6 on second chance points. Corey Raji grabbed four of BC's 17 offensive rebounds and was one of three Eagles in double figures with 14 points. Joe Trapani added nine points and nine rebounds.
The Terps are not exactly known for their defense, but BC looked out of sorts from start to finish. The Eagles committed 18 turnovers, including an eye-popping 11 in the first half alone (more on this to come). Both Rakim Sanders (10 points on 4-of-15 shooting) and Reggie Jackson (11 points on 3-of-10) struggled to find a rhythm. BC did hit 6-of-17 three point attempts, but three came in the game's final seven minutes when things were already out of hand.
Eliminating Dribble Penetration
When Vasquez wasn't running free in the open court, he was blowing by defenders in half court sets. Whether it was a man-to-man defense or a match up zone, Vasquez found his way to the rim. He took 13 shots and made seven. BC is lucky he did not decide to take more.
It wasn't just that the Eagles committed 18 turnovers, it was how they committed them. Jackson threw away a jump pass that led to a transition bucket. Sanders and Trapani both forced plays in the paint which led to easy baskets on the other end. Point guard Biko Paris had more turnovers (4) than assists (3). Overall, the 18 BC turnovers led to 21 points for Maryland. Which leads us to...
It basically looked like a blowout in an AAU game: whenever somebody turned the ball over, they would hang their head and jog back on defense. Meanwhile, Vasquez and company were laying in easy baskets on the other end. (Except when they were hitting transition threes). This was easily the most disturbing aspect of this game. Yes, Maryland can make teams look bad in the open court, but this is a fringe tournament team we are talking about. It's a good thing the Eagles don't have Kentucky on the schedule.
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