Maryland basketball falls at Rutgers after another slow start

After yet another slow first half and a season-high 20 turnovers, Maryland basketball fell on the road at Rutgers 64-50 on Thursday night. The Terps fall to 10-5 overall and 1-3 in Big Ten play and have now lost five of their last seven games. Jahmir Young led the Terps in scoring with 13, all coming in the second half.

Maryland jumped to an early 4-0 lead to start the game and looked like a different team than we saw in the brutal loss at Michigan on Sunday, but promptly went on a nearly nine-minute scoring drought which saw Rutgers take a 15-4 lead. Turnovers and missed shots were key to the struggles, as the Terps shot 25% from the field and had 12 turnovers in the first half and only got six combined points from their starting five.

The Terps came to life towards the end of the first half, going on a mini 6-0 run courtesy of two quick threes from Don Carey and Ian Martinez. Carey then knocked down another three just before the first half buzzer to trim the halftime deficit to single digits.

Maryland started the second half with energy, specifically from sophomore big Julian Reese, who scored six of Maryland’s first 10 second half points and looked engaged on the defensive end.

“I thought that was the best [Reese] has looked in a long time. He looks like he’s back from those 12 days that he missed.” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said after the game. “His legs look like they are there, I thought his pick and roll defense was excellent. I thought he battled all night.”

Reese finished eight points on 4-of-5 shooting but picked up two quick fouls in the midst of a Rutgers 12-0 run, including a flagrant foul contesting a fast break layup by Paul Mulcahy. This helped push the Rutgers lead to 16 and essentially closed the door on any comeback attempt by Maryland.

Mulcahy paced Rutgers with 15 points going a perfect 6-6 from the field, and Cam Spencer chipped in 13 points on 3-6 three-point shooting.

Although Maryland shot nearly 60% from the field and 5-8 from three-point range in the second half, it wasn’t enough to combat the turnovers and sluggish offensive first half. Seniors Hakim Hart and Donta Scott scored a combined eight points on 4-13 shooting for the game. Scott has been struggling mightily over his past several games, looking like a shell of the player who dominated the early portion of the season.

Maryland has played three of their first four Big Ten games on the road, and including the neutral site game played vs. Tennessee at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, has played four of its last five Power 5 teams away from the Xfinity Center.

“This is the first time these guys have gone through this.” Willard said. “Being on the road, battling tough crowds. I think that’s what is great about this league is that every night has been a great crowd. Right now we have had three tough games on the road. We’ve played well at home, but we just haven’t been home that much.”

“I have the utmost confidence in these guys.” he added. “We will get it going offensively.”

Maryland returns home on Sunday to face Ohio State.

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