By Joe Catapano
Maryland lost to Clemson 84-72 in the first round of the ACC Tournament on March 10, 2005, extending the Terrapin’s losing streak to four games.
Almost 12 years later, Maryland stood just 40 minutes away from dropping its fourth-straight game Tuesday night for the first time in over a decade.
Maryland, coming off three-consecutive losses, traveled north to Piscataway, New Jersey, and used a team effort to slay the Scarlet Knights 79-59 to extinguish its losing streak.
Anthony Cowan whipped a cross-court pass to Melo Trimble, who without hesitation, pulled up for a 3-point shot just moments into the second half. Maryland’s lead grew to 10 as the ball fell through the net, capping off an 8-0 scoring run less than two minutes into the second half.
While Maryland saw many of its leads evaporate in the matter of minutes this season, this time the Terrapins extended their lead after the ensuing Rutgers timeout.
The Terrapins doubled their lead, holding an advantage over the Scarlet Knights by as much as 22 points with 4:07 left in the game. The win is the Maryland’s first 20-point victory since the Big Ten opener on Dec. 27.
While the Terrapins won the game by a comfortable margin, Maryland only held a four-point lead at halftime.
Cowan and Trimble combined for 15 of Maryland’s 32 first-half points on 7-for-12 shooting and contributed five rebounds and four assists as a pair.
But while the duo highlighted a first half in which Maryland couldn’t break free from the Scarlet Knights, the second half featured a team effort that Rutgers couldn’t compete with.
Ten Terrapins found the scoreboard Tuesday night, with seven scoring at least eight points. Trimble, the team’s leading scorer of the night, only finished with 11 points.
Maryland’s bench contributed to a second-half surge that put the game out of reach. The Terrapin’s bench outscored Rutgers’ 36-14, including double-figures from L.G. Gill and Ivan Bender.
Bender and starting center Damonte Dodd stepped up in the absence of Michal Cekovsky, who will miss the rest of the season with a fractured left ankle. The two big men combined for 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocks from the five position.
The difference from the first to second half was how the Terrapins shared the ball. Running a more up-tempo offense, Maryland passed the ball effectively in transition. The Scarlet Knights were unable to keep up, watching Maryland assist on 18 of its 31 field goals.
Maryland (23-7, 11-6 Big Ten) looks to snap a two-game home losing streak on Saturday, playing host to Michigan State at 2 p.m. to conclude the regular season.