Fatts Russell scored 23 points and Eric Ayala had 22 points and eight rebounds as visiting Maryland took control in the first half and defeated host Rutgers 68-60 in a Big Ten game Tuesday night in Piscataway, N.J.
Qudus Wahab added 10 points for the Terrapins (11-9, 3-6).
Geo Baker and Ron Harper Jr. each scored 16 points for Rutgers (11-8, 5-4), which shot 34.4 percent. Clifford Omoruyi had 11 points and 13 rebounds and Caleb McConnell scored 11 points for Rutgers, which didn't get closer than seven points in the second half, and not until the final minute.
Although Omoruyi scored the first basket of the second half to trim Maryland's lead to 38-28, the Scarlet Knights were unable to make any further progress. Maryland kept them at bay by hitting timely three-pointers. The Terps shot 12-for-25 from long range.
Ayala's contested three-pointer with 13:15 left put Maryland ahead 49-35. It came shortly after Harper left the game after picking up his third foul with 14:28 left.
At that juncture, Rutgers trailed 46-35. Harper re-entered with the Scarlet Knights down 49-38 with 11:29 to go, but his return didn't alter the momentum. Maryland continued to slowly pull away. Another three by Ayala gave the Terps a 60-46 lead with 5:51 left.
Rutgers made its first three shots of the game to take an early 7-4 lead. But things deteriorated very quickly after that for the Scarlet Knights, who failed to score for a span of 7:02. Meanwhile, Maryland ran off 11 points to establish a 15-7 lead.
After McConnell's basket cut Rutgers' deficit to 15-9 with 12:18 left, the Scarlet Knights did not make another field goal until Baker drained a three-pointer with 5:26 left in the first half to trim the Terrapins' lead to 29-15.
Rutgers' main problem was that Maryland's zone cut off easy driving lanes to the hoop, forcing the Scarlet Knights to become jump shooters, which is not their strength. They finally warmed up from long distance near the end of the half with the help of Baker, who made four of six attempts from beyond the arc and contributed 14 first-half points.
Baker had two three-pointers during an 11-3 run that closed the half and cut Maryland's lead to 38-26 at intermission. Russell scored 13 in the half for Maryland, and his three gave the visitors their biggest lead at 35-15.
--Field Level Media