Gosh, what a letdown game by the Maryland Terrapins. They took down the Duke Blue Devils, but simply could not get any motivation to play against the Boston College Eagles. Maryland lost this game, BC did nothing to win it.
That's what I'd say if I were a total dunce.
But I'm not a dunce. And I will acknowledge that BC played a pretty damn good game.
The first half was an insult to basketball fans everywhere. It was sloppy and nobody could hit a shot if their life had depended on it. Fortunately, their lives did not depend on it and the two teams emerged from the locker room to play a second half. Logan Aronhalt was the only player on either team who knew how to shoot and he drilled a bunch of threes during the final minutes of the first half to give Maryland a 33-26 lead at the break.
But then the second half started and BC absolutely befuddled top-5 NBA Draft pick, Alex Len as they bamboozled the Terps. BC outscored Maryland 43-25 in the final 20 minutes. Much of that had to do with the defense that Steve Donahue got his team to play after the break. Maryland was held to 24.1% (7 of 29) shooting in the second half. It certainly wasn't a good performance by the Terrapins, but BC's defense had a lot to do with that. From the very beginning of the game, BC was bringing double-teams down on Alex Len and barraging him with smaller guards, making it very difficult for him to operate. The constant doubles and threat of guards swooping in to create turnovers seemed to sap some of Len's aggressiveness. The kid is extremely talented and had about a dozen NBA scouts there to see him play, but he was virtually a non-factor tonight, at least offensively.
Patrick Heckmann and Joe Rahon had absolutely brutal nights shooting the ball. Heckmann was 1 of 7 from the field, while Joe was just 2 of 11. As a team, BC shot just 6 of 26 from behind the arc and 39.6% total. And yet they still won by double-digits. Here's why.
Free throw shooting
BC hit 21 of their 22 foul shots. That's an enormous improvement over what this team has typically been doing. Donahue said in the postgame presser that in the team's first 5 ACC games, they missed a combined 50 foul shots. Think some of these "moral victories" would have been actual victories if they hit their freebies like they did tonight? It was absolutely tremendous and put to rest any thoughts of a Maryland comeback. Every time the Terps hit a shot down the stretch, BC stepped to the line and drained two free throws. It was a huge step forward and sign of maturity with regards to closing out close games.
As the team walked off the court, the crowd was chanting "O-DI-O, O-DI-O!" And he deserved it. This season, he has completely embraced his role as hyper-energy guy off the bench. He was a monster on the boards, injected the team (and crowd) with energy via thunderous dunks, and absolutely embarrassed Len with some huge blocks. He finished with 8 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 (!!!!) blocks. He said in the press conference that he's never going to be the guy out there scoring 20 points a night, and he's right. But somebody has to do the dirty work and Odio fits into that role very nicely.
I have a huge feature on Olivier coming up in the next day or two, but he was simply tremendous tonight. He set a new career high with 26 points and he did it on an uber-efficient 9 of 14 shooting. He was strong on the boards, played tough defense, and was very much in control of the game. He only had 1 assist, but there were numerous times when he set up Rahon or Heckmann for open looks and they just couldn't knock them down. His attitude is to be aggressive at all times, but he managed to recognize that with the 7-footer Len patrolling the paint, he'd have to adjust his mindset. He slowed down when needed and made the right plays. Down the stretch, he took over. As I said on Twitter, Maryland has the sure-fire NBA lottery pick, but in the final minutes of this game, the best player on the court was wearing a white #21 jersey. I'm extremely excited to watch another year or two of Hanlan light up Conte Forum. The kid is special.
The Road Ahead
Boston College will try to avenge their 1-point loss to Duke earlier this season when they travel to Cameron Indoor at 2 PM on Sunday, February 24th to play the #6 Blue Devils.