Don't look now: another collapse

The Baltimore Sun

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland and its fans, who suffered through a 41-point humiliation at Duke on Saturday, endured a different sort of pain last night.

This time, the Terps took a 16-point lead in the first half before losing all of it - and then some - in a 76-67 defeat to Boston College.

"Our defense wasn't as good the second half," coach Gary Williams said. "We didn't come out with the same fire we had the first 20 minutes of the game, and we paid for it."

The Terps shot better than they did Saturday, rebounded more aggressively and, most important, regained some swagger. For a time, Maryland showed the Terps and their fans that basketball could be fun again. Maryland, which scored 44 points Saturday at Duke, had nearly that much by halftime last night in taking a 40-29 lead.

But then Maryland (13-7) gave it all away, falling to 2-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It was Maryland's first conference loss at home.

"We know we can beat some good teams," Williams said. "We just have to do it now."

Boston College, led by forward Corey Raji and guard Rakim Sanders, stormed back in the second half. The Eagles took took their first lead, 55-54, on Raji's jumper with just under seven minutes left and held off Maryland from there.

Maryland guard Adrian Bowie said: "We lacked communication and we lacked energy. We didn't talk to each other on defense enough in the second half, and it showed."

Maryland surrendered 47 points on 60 percent shooting in the second half.

There were boos from the crowd - perhaps for the officials, perhaps for the Terps - as Boston College's Joe Trapani made two free throws to push the lead to 72-63 in the final minutes. Fans booed again nearer the end of the game.

The Terps came out hot, shooting 53 percent in the first half.

Granted, Boston College (16-6, 4-3 ACC) was no Duke. The inconsistent Eagles memorably beat North Carolina on the road this season and then just as memorably lost to Harvard at home.

Still, Maryland seemed to have found a groove.

Greivis Vasquez (18 points), who had said his "passion" was missing the past few games, kissed both hands after converting his first three-pointer and posed for the student section after his second.

But Maryland seemed to lose its confidence as things soured in the second half. Williams suggested it might be because the Terps are relatively young. Dave Neal, who shot 2-for-8, is the team's only senior.

"We're going to look at the tape to see if there are ways we can improve," Williams said.


Did you notice that ...

* Eric Hayes, who entered the game having made eight of his past 26 field goals, continued to struggle with his shot, going 1-for-8 from the field, including 0-for-5 on three-point tries.

* Maryland held its own on the boards, out-rebounding Boston College overall and more than doubling the Eagles' offensive rebound total, 17-7.

* The Eagles made half of their three-point attempts (6-for-12), while the Terps went 3-for-17.

* Rakim Sanders was the only Eagle with no name on his jersey. Fans noticed the wardrobe malfunction and serenaded him with "No name!" Sanders led BC with 16 points.

Up next

The Terps face Miami on Saturday in College Park. Last night against North Carolina State, the Hurricanes lost in overtime, 84-81, despite 27 points from Jack McClinton (Calvert Hall), who scored 18 in Miami's two-point win over Maryland earlier this month.

MIAMI (14-6, 3-4 ACC) @MARYLAND (13-7, 2-4)

Saturday, 8 p.m.

TV: Chs. 54, 20

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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