Maryland’s Gary Williams is making his return to Boston College, but he’s clearly more focused on the mental state of his team.
The 23rd-ranked Terrapins enter Sunday’s ACC opener against the Eagles with some positive momentum and Williams hopes his young team won’t be nervous for conference play.
Maryland (9-1) bounced back from last Sunday’s 81-74 loss to Notre Dame with a 79-59 victory over Fordham on Wednesday. The Terrapins shot a season-low 42.4 percent against the Irish before making a season-high 55.8 percent three days later.
“We were better tonight,” Williams said. “We got back to doing some things that we did and I think it doesn’t show until the second half.”
Williams coached Boston College (5-2) from 1982-86, guiding the Eagles to a 76-45 record and two trips to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament. He left to take over at Ohio State in 1986 before returning to his alma mater of Maryland in 1989.
This is Williams’ first game at BC since taking over at Maryland. The teams met twice last season, with Maryland winning at home and BC winning in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament.
The game will also mark a homecoming for Maryland junior guard Mike Jones, a native of Dorchester, Mass. Jones scored 18 points Wednesday after being held to a season-low two points in Sunday’s loss.
“I’m definitely looking forward to going home,” Jones said. “I’m not sure who is going to get comp tickets. Probably my family and some friends, but I’m excited about it.”
Maryland is 10-7 in ACC openers under Williams, including last season’s 73-71 victory over BC.
“It’s going to be good to start with ACC play,” forward Ekene Ibekwe said. “It will be fun. We like playing on the road, where we can prove some people wrong. We are going to come out to practice and start game planning, and we’ll be ready this weekend.”
Boston College has gotten strong play from 6-foot-10 forward Sean Williams during its four-game winning streak. Williams, who was suspended for the season’s first two games due to an unspecified violation of team rules, is averaging 13.8 points and 4.3 blocks in that span.
He’s become a strong complement to leading scorer Jared Dudley, who’s shooting nearly 58 percent this season and averaging a career-high 19.1 points. The senior forward never shot better than 49.4 percent in his first three seasons with BC.
Maryland won’t have to face graduated Eagles forward Craig Smith, who posted a double-double in both meetings last season.
Dudley averaged 15.0 points in those games and Eagles guard Sean Marshall chipped in 14.5 per game on 11-of-17 shooting.
The teams have played two common opponents this season. Both teams have beaten Michigan State, and Maryland defeated Vermont, which knocked off BC on Nov. 13.