Maryland 64, Boston College 59
How it happened: Though it wasn’t pretty, Maryland beat Boston College at home for a win the young Terp squad needed.
A 12-1 Maryland run midway through the second half sealed the win for the Terps. For much of the game, Maryland and BC battled back and forth thanks to hot three-point shooting from the Eagles.
"'I'm really proud of my team. We gutted it out," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We figured out a way to win. That's what really matters in the end.”
Maryland sophomore center Alex Len gave one of his best efforts of the season, scoring 16 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Len dominated for stretches, demanding the ball and finishing at the rim. Len also controlled much of the paint, leading a Maryland defense that held BC to 35 percent from the field. If Len consistently performs, the Maryland team could be dangerous.
"Alex was pretty special on defense tonight," Turgeon said. After the game Len said he wanted the ball against Boston College, following the direction of Turgeon who asked that the Terps play from the inside out.
Key stat: Len is clearly the Terps biggest weapon and scoring threat, but the Terps have struggled to find a secondary scorer. Tonight Maryland got 15 points from freshman Jake Layman, including 50 percent three-point shooting on four attempts. Layman also hauled down five rebounds. On a night when Dez Wells scored just five points, Layman's strong play helped the Terps secure the win.
"I think he feels more comfortable," Turgeon said of Layman. "The kid's going to be a really good player."
Layman's teammates agreed with their coach. Logan Aronhalt said that Layman's points came up big for the Terps.
"It's great to see him play with confidence," Turgeon added of Layman.
While Wells didn't score much, his production from the point guard position gave the Terps a new dimension during the second half run. Wells finished with eight assists to just three turnovers, seven assists in the second half. A confident Layman and distributing Wells could be the formula Maryland's offense has been looking for.
"He did a great job," Len said of Wells playing point guard. Len liked that Wells pushed the tempo for the Terps. "We like running."
What it means: Squarely in the NCAA Tournament bubble conversation at 15-4, Maryland could not afford to lose at home to Boston College. Earlier this season, the 9-9 Eagles lost at home to Bryant. A loss to BC would have been devastating for a Maryland team with a very bad non-conference strength of schedule.
The win moves Maryland back to .500 in conference play at 3-3.
Up next: Soon Maryland’s ACC schedule get’s a bit easier, but not for the next two games. On Saturday the Terps go on the road to play Duke in Cameron Indoor Stadium. For a young team that looked scared by the bright lights playing at North Carolina, the Cameron Crazies could do a number on the Terps.
After Duke, Maryland travels to Tallahassee to play Florida State. The Seminoles have certainly been inconsistent this season, but they already beat Maryland in College Park earlier this month. If Maryland wins one of the next two, head coach Mark Turgeon should be pleased.