BC jumps out to big lead, cruises past Maryland

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) -- Jared Dudley and his Boston College
teammates apparently have grown tired of watching opponents jump to
early leads.

Craig Smith had 21 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists to lead
the 11th-ranked Eagles to an 80-66 victory over Maryland in the
quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament on Friday
night, giving BC its ninth win in 10 games.

Tyrese Rice added 19 points for the third-seeded Eagles (25-6),
who got off to a great start in their first tournament appearance
to earn a date with No. 10 North Carolina in Saturday's semifinals.

The win allowed Boston College to avenge a 73-71 loss at
Maryland in its league debut, which was part of an 0-3 start in its
new conference. The Eagles led throughout this time, scoring 19 of
the game's first 21 points and taking a 21-point lead midway
through the first half.

Sixth-seeded Maryland (19-12) never got closer than 14 points.

Dudley, a junior who finished with 18 points, considered it a
lesson learned from a 78-72 loss to West Virginia in the Big East
tournament quarterfinals last year. In that game, the Mountaineers
took a 44-22 halftime lead on the top-seeded Eagles.

"People wanted to come out with a different mindset," Dudley
said. "We came out kind of flat and they definitely put it on us.
We know we're just a better team and we played harder, and now at
the end of the year, you want to get rewarded for all your hard

Jumping to early leads of 19-2, 22-4 and 27-6 left the Eagles in
the comfortable position of playing from ahead after trailing at
halftime in 10 games this year, including three times in the past
five games.

"We were in a rhythm," Smith said. "We wanted to come out and
be the aggressors for once and bring it to the other team, and we

James Gist scored 14 points for the Terrapins, who routed
Georgia Tech to reach the quarterfinals but couldn't follow up with
another strong performance. They shot 24 percent in the first half
and 35 percent for the game, leaving them with plenty to think
about as they wait to find out whether they're heading back to the
NCAA tournament after a one-year absence.

"I know I've worked hard, and I know the players have worked
hard this year," coach Gary Williams said. "We've had to overcome
some things, and I hope that's good enough. We're going to be just
like everybody else: we're going to wait and see what happens
Sunday. That's all we can do."

The Terrapins, who lost leading scorer Chris McCray to academic
problems in January, also got a scare when Nik Caner-Medley
suffered a sprained right ankle with about 16 minutes to play.
Caner-Medley limped off the court before being taken to the locker
room for further examination, and did not return to the game.

Williams said Caner-Medley could have returned if the game was

Boston College shot 50 percent, going 7-for-13 from behind the
arc and hitting 21 of 28 free throws. The Eagles also finished with
21 assists on 26 baskets, including a feed from Smith to Akida
McLain for a jumper and the 27-6 lead with 9 minutes left in the
first half.

It was clear just how badly things were going for the Terrapins
with only a few glances toward the Maryland bench and the
demonstrative Williams, who had already peeled off his jacket by
the first official timeout.

A few minutes later, Williams seemed exasperated after D.J.
Strawberry forced up a bad shot from the left side early in the
possession, prompting Williams to yell across the court, "D.J.!
What's that?"

And when the Terps allowed Louis Hinnant to penetrate and dish
to Smith for an easy dunk just before halftime for a 41-22 lead,
Williams could do little other than raise both hands and clutch his
head in frustration.

"We just didn't come out like the team that we've been coming
out in the last couple of games," Strawberry said. "We got down
early, and we just gave them confidence."

The lead grew to 59-35 on a runner by Rice with 12½ minutes left
before the Terrapins closed the margin to 14 points three times in
the final minutes. Maryland made its best push with a 10-0 run to
close to 61-47 on free throws by Gist with 7:31 left, but Boston
College answered with two free throws from Rice and a tip-in by
Dudley to push it back to 18.