Terps Hand Boston College the Win

Poor execution in the final minutes leads to 79-75 loss

With their first signature win in their grasp, the blunders that have been plaguing the Terps in the most crucial contests returned to haunt the team in the decisive minutes of Sunday’s matinee with Boston College.

After recapturing the lead, Maryland swingman Cliff Tucker failed to make two free throws. Eagles’ sixth-man extraordinaire Corey Raji made a quick lay-up to notch the score at 75 before Terrell Stoglin proceeded to miss a free-throw attempt as well.

Following a timeout, Raji drove the nail in the coffin when he shot a three-pointer to give Boston College a 78-75 lead, the 16th and final lead change of the game. Raji’s six consecutive points were the only ones scored in the last minute and a half of play.

Raji’s game-winning shot would be the 13th three-pointer where the Eagles shot 48 percent from downtown. The four-guard lineup Boston College head coach Steve Donahue’s high-paced offense engineered caused the Terps severe match-up problems.

“They did a great job finding the open man. We were all moving around, shifting our defense,” center Jordan Williams said.”They made their shots, made their threes. Every time they shot the ball it was like ‘not again.’”

Maryland’s failed attempts to convert their free-throws and Tucker’s turnover with 30 ticks left exaggerated the team’s inability to play sound, fundamental basketball.

The three missed free-throws in the waning 90 seconds were among the four attempts and misses in the second period. Tucker’s turnover nullified Maryland’s best opportunity to put points on the board following Raji’s shot.

It is these mistakes that separate Maryland from being able to come out on top of these games.

“It’s the little things that hurt. If we execute certain plays we can easily win these games,” forward Dino Gregory said. “As soon as we learn those things we can start winning these close games.”

Gregory matched a career-high with his 14 points, while Williams set a new high of 27 points to go along with 13 rebounds.

It was Williams’ fifth consecutive double-double, his ninth on the season, which heading into Sunday’s action was tied for most in the nation. The Boston College 1-3-1 zone harassed Williams at time, but he quickly exhausted their efforts with a display of mid-range jumpers.

“You don’t want to say it is just another performance, but [J. Williams] has been doing that now that us for this,” head coach Gary Williams said. “It was just a tremendous effort. For him to do that being double-teamed most of the team and having no turnovers is just an amazing stat in addition to the rebounds and points. He’s on his way.”

Williams’ game-high point total was closely matched by Eagles guard Biko Paris, who scored 22 points, including 8-12 from the floor and six shots that dropped from long-range.

Much of the defensive attention was paid onto do-it-all guard Reggie Jackson, who came into College Park after a 27, 17 and 26-point effort in each of his December contests. With a crowd of guards determined to hinder Jackson’s production, Paris was able to quietly manufacture his best performance on the season.

With 10 days to let their first conference loss sink into their skins before they retake the court, Gary Williams sees not his team’s defense as the culprit.

Because of the influx of youth this year, Williams believes the offense is not operating to its fullest potential because players are not getting in the right sets before the game. It is a learning curve – most of them have never had to do it before they came to Maryland.

“When we execute our plays we seem to be able to score,” Williams said, as it is more important now than last year because Greivis Vasquez had the ability score when the offense broke down. “There is a lot of ways to get it done, and we’re a pretty good team when we execute as well as we can.”

For Jordan Williams, the 7-4 record will leave a taste of disgust until they host NJIT on Dec. 22. He believes his team should have four less losses at this point, if not for a couple of missed free throws, turnovers or some made baskets.

His message this week: “Good teams can come back from tough losses. We’re right there.”

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