CHESTNUT HILL -The stakes were clear for Boston College heading into Saturday's contest with ACC foe Maryland at Conte Forum. A win would keep the Eagles' tournament hopes alive and well, while a loss would put them in a big hole with only five regular season games remaining.
With their backs to the wall, Steve Donahue's team stepped up to the call once again. Reggie Jackson finished with a career-high 31 points and eight rebounds as Boston College triumphed over Maryland, 76-72, in an ACC battle at Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon.
"I just played basketball," said Jackson. "I guess tonight was my night. I'm happy, after a three game stretch with Florida State, UNC and Duke [where I] shot poorly, that I'm heating back up."
The win gave Boston College an 8-6 advantage in the all-time series against Maryland and was the Eagles' second victory of the season against the Terrapins.
"We played on the offensive end like I know we're capable of doing" said Boson College head coach Steve Donahue said. "[We made] very intelligent decisions and obviously Reggie made almost every right decision the whole game."
BC's victory pushed its record to 16-9 overall (6-5 in ACC play), and at this point in the season, every win counts.
"Everybody in this room knows that maybe only four teams are going to make the NCAA tournament from the ACC," Jackson said. "We're trying to rack up as many wins as we can."
Corey Raji finished with 12 points and seven rebounds for Boston College. Joe Trapani amassed 10 points and seven rebounds, Biko Paris finished with eight points and Josh Southern had six points for the Eagles. John Cahill added nine points courtesy of 3-of-4 shooting beyond the arc.
"He moves the ball, he makes the game simple," Donahue said of Cahill, a senior walk-on. "Obviously, when his feet are set, he's a very good shooter."
Boston College connected on 27-of-56 shots (48.2%) and 10-of-26 three-pointers (38.5%). The Eagles collected 34 rebounds (eight offensive) and has 16 assists, four steals, four blocks and 15 turnovers in the win.
Jordan Williams, who was held scoreless for the first 13 minutes of the game, finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Dino Gregory scored a team-high 15 points and both Pe'Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin had 14 points. Sean Mosley added 10 points and five rebounds for the Terps.
Maryland shot 42.4% from the floor (27-of-64) and made only 6-of-17 three-pointers (35.3%). The Terrapins finished with 37 rebounds (15 offensive), 15 assists, four steals, three blocks and 14 turnovers in the losing effort.
Boston College scored the first five points of the game, but Maryland responded with a 9-0 run to grab a 9-5 lead with 15:43 left in the first half. The Eagles were able to regain the lead, taking an 11-10 advantage on Cahill's three-pointer with 14:21 remaining.
Cahill's three was the start of a 12-3 run for BC in which the Eagles made four consecutive threes to take a 19-14 lead at the 11:51 mark. Both squads swapped buckets throughout the final 12 minutes, with Maryland closing out the half of a 26-17 run to take a 40-37 lead into the intermission.
Neither team could pull away in the first ten minutes of the second half, with the Eagles outscoring the Terps, 16-11, to grab a 53-51 lead. However, BC's hot hand returned in the latter half of the period, and BC closed out the game with a 23-21 run to seal its 16th victory of the 2010-11 campaign.
"I thought in the second half, in particular, we defended really well," said Donahue. "They have such an offensive lineup that is explosive at times. For us to guard Williams and guard their penetration, just holding them to just [35.5%] in the second half, one three and causing 14 turnovers over the course of the game, I thought that was the key."
Boston College returns to the court next Saturday when it faces No. 20 North Carolina in what may turn out to be a make-or-break game for the Eagles. Maryland heads to Virginia Tech to take on the Hokies next Saturday in its next contest.