clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland men’s basketball breezes past Rutgers, 77-63

After a slow start, the Terps cruised to a road victory.

NCAA Basketball: Rutgers at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball started out slow, then ran Rutgers out of its own arena for a 77-63 victory on Saturday afternoon.

The Terps shook off a cold start, then never looked back as their defense kept the Scarlet Knights in check. Maryland closed the first half on a 33-6 run and led by at least 14 points for the entire second half. Five Maryland players would finish in double figures, compared to just two for Rutgers.

Jalen Smith and Anthony Cowan Jr. led the way for the Terps with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Smith picked up right where he left off, while Cowan would shake off a cold start to the game. Bruno Fernando wouldn’t quite get to another double-double, finishing with 10 points and nine rebounds, but flashed his passing skills with a team-high five assists. Serrel Smith Jr. and Eric Ayala joined the scoring barrage, adding 11 points each.

Eugene Omoruyi scored 12 points for the Scarlet Knights, but was in foul trouble all game and ran out of fouls with four minutes left. Ron Harper Jr., son of the former Chicago Bull, added 10 points, but Rutgers was held to just 37 percent from the field and went 6-of-21 behind the arc.

The game opened with Smith hitting nearly the exact same shot as his game-winner against Nebraska, but Rutgers came out with stifling defense and led 11-6 by the first media timeout. Fernando went out after an early foul, and the Terps couldn’t get anything in the lane and the Scarlet Knights racked up three blocks in the opening minutes. Fernando checked back in after the break, and the energy started to flip, but a Fernando free throw was the only point scored by either team before the next timeout.

The tide started to turn when Ayala took a charge on one end and hit a three on the other. That three woke up a Maryland offense that had gone 2-of-13 to that point and was the first made field goal in an extended 21-2 run that saw Maryland take a 28-15 lead. The Terps reeled off 14 straight points, while holding Rutgers scoreless for over five minutes, and forced four turnovers in that span with stout defense to silence the crowd.

After trailing 13-7, at the under-12 timeout, Maryland finished the half on a 33-6 run to take a 40-19 lead into the break. The Terps were opportunistic, turning 11 first-half Rutgers turnovers into 17 points. Maryland ended the half hitting 10 of its last 15 shots, with seven of the nine players who checked in scoring at least once. Five players had at least five points, led by Fernando and Smith with eight points each and five and four boards, respectively. As a team, Rutgers had 13 fouls in the first half, which the Terps turned into a 13-of-15 shooting performance from the line.

The Scarlet Knights scored the first six points of the second half, forcing a timeout. Once again, it was Ayala who broke the slump with a triple, breaking the Scarlet Knights’ 2-3 zone. Rutgers tried to keep pace, but Cowan would keep his fire from the first half and nail a wide-open three and floater to put Maryland ahead 52-32.

From there, it was formalities, as Maryland’s lead stretched as high as 27. Omoruyi picked up his fourth foul with over 10 minutes left, essentially dooming any shot at a comeback. Rutgers tried to make a push after head coach Mark Turgeon benched Cowan, Smith and Fernando, and got as close as 14.

The Terps improve to 12-3 (3-1 Big Ten) on the season and 7-0 against Rutgers since both teams joined the conference in 2014. Maryland will visit Minnesota on Monday.

Three things to know

1. This got out of hand slowly, then really fast. Maryland started slow, which has been a trend this season, but once the Terps got going, the defense turned this one into a blowout. The Scarlet Knights would try to get back into it to start the second half, but had nowhere near enough.

2. Jalen Smith was still hot from last game. Smith’s outside shot didn’t fall, but he got whatever he liked in the paint. He showed off the floater again, but really did his damage by the rim. He went 0-for-3 from deep, but 7-for-9 inside the arc.

3. This was a full team performance. It’s the usual suspects for Maryland at the top of the boxscore, but this was an all-around team effort. Smith Jr. got going near the end of the first half, and Ayala was a constant. Ricky Lindo and Aaron Wiggins chipped in five, while Darryl Morsell had four. The Terps shot 48 percent as a team and went 7-of-20 from deep.

Note: Lindo and Wiggins both scored 5. We promise.
Via StatBroadcast