Rutgers-Maryland Preview

Maryland is working its way into Big Ten play with a comparatively easy schedule, and that's still a few games away from changing.

Things haven't exactly been a breeze for the third-ranked Terrapins, but there's little pointing toward trouble at home Wednesday night against short-handed Rutgers.

Conference play started with Maryland (13-1, 2-0) needing to rally from eight down at halftime for a 70-64 home win over Penn State last Wednesday, but things went smoother in Saturday's 72-59 win at Northwestern. The Terrapins built a 20-point lead by halftime.

"They wanted to kind of redeem themselves," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Coming in here, they're 13-1, they're undefeated at home. It kind of gets your attention, to be dialed in."

The point of attack changed dramatically from one game to the next. Freshman center Diamond Stone, the Big Ten Player of the Week, had 39 points against Penn State while the Terrapins backcourt struggled. Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined to go 3 for 20 with 11 points versus the Nittany Lions, but the duo then managed 40 points and hit 9 of 18 from 3-point range against the Wildcats.

"We just went out there and outplayed them," said Trimble, who had 24 points after scoring 10 against the Nittany Lions and is averaging 18.6 points in his last 12 Big Ten contests.

The only other time he was limited to 10 in that span was a 60-50 win at Rutgers on March 3. The guard had 11 in Maryland's 73-65 home win on Jan. 14, combining to go 6 for 22 in the two meetings, so it seems it'll take something especially poor for the Terrapins' 33-game home winning streak against unranked opponents to come to an end.

They've also won 21 in a row overall at home to match a streak from Feb. 20, 2001-Nov. 30, 2002, which spans the school's two Final Four seasons and the 2002 national championship. The school record is 24 straight from Nov. 30, 1979-Jan. 10, 1981.

The Scarlet Knights (6-9, 0-2), meanwhile, have dropped their last 29 road or neutral-site games against the Top 25 by an average of 18.7 points. They haven't won a road or neutral contest of any kind in nearly a year, going 0-15 with an average margin of 15.3 points dating to a loss at Nebraska on Jan. 8. That includes all 11 such Big Ten games since entering the league last season and continued in Saturday's 79-57 loss to a mediocre Wisconsin team.

"We just wore down with their size," said coach Eddie Jordan, who was down to eight scholarship players because of three frontcourt injuries.

Eight might be optimistic for this game after Jonathan Laurent suffered a head injury against the Badgers and missed Monday's practice, though it hasn't been diagnosed as a concussion.

Deshawn Freeman, second on the team with 13.1 points per game, has missed eight games with a knee injury and will remain out along with Ibrahima Diallo (foot) and Shaq Doorson (foot).

That made top scorer Corey Sanders' two-point game against Wisconsin particularly painful. The freshman averages 13.4 and came off the bench for the first time since his collegiate debut with Jordan addressing his demeanor.

"If you're not on board and you don't have energy and a positive spirit, then you have to learn how to get it, and that's what happened today. It was me partly, and it was basketball gods the other part," Jordan said.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.