Boston College's Reggie Jackson, right, shoots the ball… (Boston Herald photo by Christopher…)
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Jordan Williams seemed to be perpetually motioning for the ball. The sophomore center would plant his big body in the lane, shout to a teammate or wave an arm as if hailing a taxi.
But more than attracting the ball, Maryland's leading scorer all too often attracted multiple Boston College defenders. The Eagles minimized the contributions of Williams -- who wore a perpetual look of frustration -- and got a career-high 31 points from junior guard Reggie Jackson in a 76-72 victory over the Terps on Saturday afternoon.
It was the second time this season that Boston College had defeated the Terps by four points. Maryland coach Gary Williams still seemed fixated on the 79-75 home loss on Dec. 12 -- a game in which the Terps missed critical late free throws and allowed the Eagles to score the game's final six points. "The missed opportunity was Dec. 12. That was the missed opportunity," he said.
Saturday's defeat was frustrating for the Terps on a number of levels. It was a setback for Maryland (16-9, 5-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) as it tries to build a case for an NCAA tournament bid. The Terps are trying to separate themselves from Boston College (16-9, 6-5), Virginia Tech and other teams lumped in the middle of the ACC standings. Maryland plays at Virginia Tech on Tuesday night.
It was also Maryland's seventh loss this season by single digits. "We've been involved in a lot of these this year where we've been close and haven't been able to get over the top," Gary Williams said.
The coach said the game was lost "on the defensive end. We didn't have anybody that could stop Jackson today."
The Eagles, who had made 13 3-pointers in an earlier win over the Terps, had 10 on Saturday. They used high screens, handoffs and crisp ball rotation to get shots against Maryland's defense. Boston College entered the game ranked ninth in Division I in successful 3-pointers (9.1 per game).
Jackson had five 3-pointers, and also hurt Maryland with penetration. "He's difficult to defend because he can do so much," said Maryland freshman guard Terrell Stoglin (14 points), who lost Jackson on a first-half play that resulted in a Jackson dunk.
Gary Williams had other issues, too. With Maryland trailing 58-52, he argued a second-half charging call on Stoglin after the freshman had made a spin move into the lane.
Afterward, the coach seemed to choose his words carefully with the media. "No, you're not going to get me in trouble," he said. "There are certain rules that are rules and not judgment calls. You expect the rules to be called."
Maryland was boosted by freshman guard Pe'Shon Howard, who started his third straight game and had a career high four 3-pointers and 14 points. Senior forward Dino Gregory had a career high 15 points.
Maryland trailed 51-50 when Boston College went on a run. Jackson was fouled making a reverse and his free throw put the Eagles ahead 56-52. Moments later, the junior hit his fourth 3-pointer to up the lead to 63-52 with 7:05 remaining.
Trailing 75-70, Maryland's final chance disappeared when Adrian Bowie (five points) missed a 3-pointer from the baseline with 18 seconds left.
The Terps were hurt by the subpar games of Williams (12 points on 3-for-7 shooting ) and Cliff Tucker (0-for-4, no points).
Jordan Williams had several busloads of family and friends attending the sold-out game at the Silvio O. Conte Forum from his hometown of Torrington, Conn. The Terps trailed 27-22 when Williams made his first field goal of the game with 7:12 left in the first half.
"Every time I touched the ball there were two or three guys guarding me. Same thing every team does," the player said.
Still, he said Maryland could have done a better job late in the game of feeding the ball to him -- if only to keep the defense honest and set up outside shots for teammates. He called that style "our bread and butter."
Boston College has beaten some potent teams this season, including Texas A&M. The Eagles, in their first season under former Cornell coach Steve Donahue, have also lost to Harvard and Yale.
Getting swept by the Eagles was not what Maryland had in mind when the season began.
"It's very disappointing," said Gregory, who also said the Terps can't afford to worry about the losses as they begin preparing for Virginia Tech.