Maryland men’s basketball stifled by Rutgers, drop second straight

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Jahmir Young took a step back from beyond the arc before pulling up for the three-point shot. Draining just his second three-pointer of the game, Maryland was now just four points behind Rutgers. Unfortunately for the Terps, they would not draw any closer.

The 10-4 Maryland Terrapins traveled to Piscataway to face the 10-4 Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Maryland entered the matchup coming off of a disappointing 81-46 loss against Michigan, while Rutgers looked to continue its four-game win streak after a narrow 65-64 victory over No. 1 Purdue on Monday. 

The first minute-and-a-half of the game appeared lackluster, as both teams struggled finding the basket on quick back-and-forth possessions. Julian Reese got things going for Maryland with a layup inside the paint, and Donta Scott made it a 4-0 run with a layup on the next possession.

Four minutes in, a three-point shot from Cam Spencer gave Rutgers the lead for the first time in the game. With Maryland struggling to find the net for nearly eight straight minutes, Rutgers pulled away with a 15-point run that forced two timeouts from head coach Kevin Willard. The Terps suffered five turnovers in their scoring drought before Ian Martinez finally knocked down a pair of free throw shots to get the momentum moving in their direction.

As the first half came down to the final minutes, the Terps found themselves with just a single basket in 16 straight shot attempts. Rutgers also managed its way into a scoring drought that lasted about five minutes but managed to stay ahead with nearly a 10-point lead.

With back-to-back three-point baskets from Don Carey and Ian Martinez, Maryland finally reached double digits with under two minutes in the half. The Terps were within five points to tie, but Rutgers relentlessly pulled away.

The score at half was 24-17 after Don Carey managed another three-pointer at the buzzer.

“It’s an advantage coming off the bench sometimes,” Carey said post-game. “You get to gauge things, see the atmosphere, and see where the energy needs to go on the court and where you need to provide for your team.” He finished the game with 12 points, second-most on the team.

 The start of the second half was far different from the start of the first. Both teams managed to score on their first three possessions, increasing their point totals at a much more accelerated pace. A pass inside the paint to Hakim Hart made it a four-point game for Maryland just five minutes into the period.

With twelve-and-a-half minutes to play Julian Reese was given a flagrant 1 foul after attempting to block a layup on Paul Mulcahy. Rutgers responded by advancing with a 10-0 run before Willard was forced to call another timeout with hopes of stopping the momentum.

“The flagrant wasn’t huge,” Willard said in his post-game presser. “I loved the fact that [Julian] chased it down and went up and played aggressively. I thought that’s the best Julian has looked in a long time.”

Paul Mulcahy, who finished as Rutgers’ point-leader with 15 points, shot six-for-six from inside the paint and one-for-one from beyond the arc. With the third-most minutes on the team, he only suffered one turnover on the court.

“[Paul] is one of the better passers I’ve seen in college basketball of all time,” Willard said. “He’s unselfish, he has great confidence, but I thought the move to him playing point guard last year was the difference in the way they finished the season last year and obviously the way they’ve started this year.”

With ten minutes remaining, Maryland suffered its 17th turnover of the night, which in turn allowed Rutgers to pull ahead 51-33, its biggest lead of the night. Coach Willard called his final timeout, while Rutgers still had three on the board. The Scarlet Knights were certainly in control as the final minutes drew closer.

After a scoreless first half, Jahmir Young established himself as Maryland’s point-leader after knocking down his second three-pointer with four-and-a-half minutes to play. He finished the game with 13 total.

Suffering a season-high 20 turnovers, Maryland fell short to Rutgers, 64-50.

“The more we go into these [Big Ten] games, the more confidence they’ll have in each other, the more confidence they’ll have playing these types of defenses,” Coach Willard said.