The Maryland men’s basketball offense — whether it was careless turnovers or a failure to create a good image — held itself back all night.
About 12 and a half minutes into the game, everything boiled over. Trailing 38-30, Jahmir Young missed on an outbound pass to Rutgers senior guard Paul Mulcahy. Mulcahy was alone in transition when he received a pass, driving all the way to the cup before getting fouled by sophomore Maryland forward Julian Rhys.
“The turnover was big, to be honest. It wasn’t big blatantly,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said. “I mean, I like the fact that [Reese] Chase it up and go up and be aggressive. “
The foul was upgraded to a malicious foul, Mulcahy made two free throws, and Rutgers finally scored 4 points in a single quarter. This four-pointer packs a 12-0 Rutgers ran, and more importantly, the Terps had a scoring drought of more than four minutes.
The Terps were never able to find a foothold or identity in Piscataway, NJ, in a 64-50 loss to Rutgers. Life couldn’t get easier in Maryland, which is now 10-5 and 1-3 in the Big Ten after another noncontested result, as No. 24 Ohio State comes to town on Sunday superior.
Thursday night’s game was bound to be tough for a number of reasons. In short, the Trumps are coming off their worst loss in the Big Ten — an 81-46 loss to Michigan. Rutgers, on the other hand, is riding high after beating No. 1 Purdue for the second straight season.
Rutgers’ defense also ranks third in the country, according to KenPom.com’s adjusted defensive rating stats. The Jersey Mike Arena — formerly known as the RAC — can be one of the toughest places to play in the nation, and if the defense continues, opponents can get “in quicksand,” Willard’s term for his ball. The team struggled against Wolverine.
The Terps took a 4-0 lead, a lead that came through considerable offensive struggles. Maryland has shown a different level of enthusiasm on the defensive end compared to recent games, but that doesn’t seem to matter. Once again, Maryland was unable to generate any kind of offense, forcing Willard to burn his first timeout when trailing 11-4 before the under-12 media timeout.
Regardless, things in Maryland continue to get worse before they get better. Willard saw his team lose 15-4, burning his second timeout 10 minutes before halftime. In the end, small guard Ian Martinez made two free throws to cut Maryland to 15-6 and end an inexplicable scoring drought that lasted 8 minutes and 45 seconds.
“Maybe I should hire someone because [reporter] jerry [Carino] I should have hired an offensive coordinator as soon as I tweeted that,” Willard joked. “I thought I did it this year. I think I can fire him now. “
The Trumps were solid on the defensive end, holding Rutgers into a scoring drought for more than five minutes, but were unable to display any similarly competent offense. Almost unbelievably, Maryland suffered another extended drive, this time lasting 6:1, before graduated guard Don Carey hit a 3-pointer.
Kyrie hit his second 3-pointer before the first-half buzzer, and somehow Maryland trailed just 24-17 at halftime. Maryland’s defense was largely back to its best form in the first 20 minutes, holding Rutgers to 9 field goals and 9 turnovers, but its performance on the other side of the court made the second half an uphill battle .
Maryland seemed to come back to life in the second half, hitting four of its first six field goals. It cut the lead to 34-30 with about 14 minutes to go, but never got close.
Afterwards, Rutgers put on a 12-0 run to round out another miserable loss for the Terps. Maryland trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half and has never trailed by single digits after the Scarlet Knights’ run.
“Sometimes the schedule dictates how you play, and we’ve had three tough games on the road now,” Willard said. “We played well at home, we just didn’t come home as often. So I have confidence in these guys. We’ll attack again, I’m not that worried.”
three things to know
1. Another bad offense in the first half. The Trumps scored 17 points in the first half, but they somehow went scoreless twice in a row — once for more than six minutes and once for nearly nine minutes. Maryland doubled the score 12 times in the first 20 minutes and scored just 11 points in less than two minutes before halftime. The Terps’ offense was terrible against Power Conference opponents in the last four of the first half.
“I don’t know,” Willard said of the offensive problems in the first half. “We had some good results in the first half. … They’re working hard, they’re getting better and better, they’re good attacking players.
2. Where are the stars? Jameer Young, Donta Scott and Hakeem Hart were integral to Maryland’s 8-0 start. Since then, the trio has regressed offensively. In the first half, Young, Scott and Hart combined for just four points on 2-for-14 shooting.Young was strong in the second half, shooting 13 of 5 for the game–of-12 shots.However, Hart ended the game with just two points Scott scored six points.
3. Lots of mistakes. Not only can Maryland fail to provide any plausible offense, but it can’t handle the ball at all. Terps end with 20 Thursday’s turnovers — some careless, some forced — were the most in a game this season.Three Terps Complete at least three mistake. Maryland had more turnovers than field goals (19).