Maryland picked up an impressive 77-63 Big Ten Conference road win over cold-shooting Rutgers on Saturday afternoon before a sellout crowd at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J.
The Scarlet Knights (7-6, 0-3) led by 6 points in the first nine minutes but then the roof caved in, and Rutgers was outscored 33-6 to the half. The Knights connected on just 7of 29 shots (25.9 percent) from the field in that opening 20 minutes, digging a 21-point hole and trailing 40-19 at halftime.
Maryland (12-3, 3-1) went ahead for good at 8:07 of the first half on Bruno Fernando’s three-point play to make it 17-15, a part of that big scoring blitz. Freshman Jalen Smith, the hero of Maryland’s upset of No. 24 Nebraska on Wednesday, led a balanced attack with 16 points. Anthony Cowan added 15. Eric Ayala had 11. Serrel Smith came off the bench to chip in 11, and Fernando had 10 points and 9 rebounds for Maryland, which shot 48.3 percent (28 of 58) from the field.
Rutgers scored the first six points of the second half, closing to 40-25 when Montez Mathis scored inside at 17:53. After a Terrapin timeout, Maryland got a 3-pointer from Ayala to start a 10-4 run to regain control. When Cowan knocked down a 3-pointer at 15:08, the lead was back to 50-29.
The Terrapins led by 27 points with 5:36 to play as Aaron Wiggins slipped inside for a layup. The Scarlet Knights have now lost seven straight games to Maryland since the two schools joined the Big Ten in 2014-15.
The surging Terrapins have won back-to-back Big Ten games after the win over Nebraska when Smith scored the last 7 points, and have won three in a row overall, and five of their last six, eying a return to the Top 25 this week as they travel to Minnesota on Tuesday.
Eugene Omoruyi led Rutgers with 12 points, while Mathis added 11. The Scarlet Knights shot just 37.1 percent (23 of 62) for the game in front of the 8,000 fans in the RAC. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak. The Knights host Ohio State Jan. 9.
—Field Level Media