Don’t look now but the University of Maryland is 18-2 and is atop the Big Ten conference standings at 6-1 (tied with Wisconsin).
Last night, the Terps defeated Rutgers, 67-55 for their 5th straight victory. The game started off slow for both teams as neither seemed to be able to get in rhythm. The Terps were able to push to an early 6 point lead but the Scarlett Knights responded with a run of their own, eventually taking a 21-20 lead. But as good teams do, Maryland responded, closing out the half on a 9-4 run to take a 34-29 lead into halftime.
The second half was a completely different ballgame. Maryland came out focused and hot on offense. They quickly took a 5 point halftime lead up to 16. Freshman Kevin Huerter keyed the run. In the crucial first 7 minutes of the second half, Huerter scored 8 points. He finished the game with 11 points, 6 assists and 8 rebounds.
Despite being under the weather, Melo Trimble put in a strong performance. Trimble scored 17 points and had 6 rebounds in 34 minutes. After the game, Coach Mark Turgeon admitted that he wanted to limit Trimble’s minutes and almost seemed apologetic for playing him as much as he did.
As for Rutgers, they were undone by defensive lapses and spotty free throw shooting. After holding the Terps to 39% in the first half, the defense allowed Maryland to shooting 50% in the second half. As for the free throw shooting, it couldn’t get much worse than the 41.7% they shot. Coach Steve Pikiell vowed to keep doing all they can to improve the free throw shooting. As Coach Pikiell said at the press conference it hurts when a team gets the ball inside and can’t convert at the line.
Also, credit Maryland for what they did to Corey Sanders in the second half. After Sanders 13 points in the first half, Maryland held Sanders to 0-8 shooting in the second.
Maryland will now head to Minnesota and Ohio State before coming back home for their big match up against Purdue. The Golden Gophers are in the middle of the pack in the conference but have a strong 12-2 home record this season. Ohio State is at the bottom of the Big Ten just above Rutgers.
As for the Purdue, the Boilermakers sit a half game behind both Maryland and Wisconsin. They head to Nebraska before returning home to face off against a tough Northwestern team.
Marcus “Mook” Washington is the host of Making The Cut. Follow Mook on Twitter: @mtcwithmook and IG: MTCWithMook. Member: USBWA, FWAA