Maryland is picking the worst possible time to go into a slump, although a loss at Rutgers on Tuesday would create a whole new level of panic. The Terrapins aim to avoid a fourth straight defeat as they take on the Scarlet Knights, who have won two of their 16 league games by a total of three points.
Only a one-point home win versus Nebraska and a two-point victory at Penn State have separated Rutgers from a winless Big Ten slate, although the team could enjoy playing spoiler against NCAA Tournament-bound Maryland. The Terrapins won the first matchup this season 67-55 last month, as Melo Trimble shook off a recent illness to score 17 points. Trimble struggled for the second straight game Saturday versus Iowa, shooting 4-of-13 to drop him to 8-of-25 over the last two outings. “A week ago we had a ton of confidence. Three games later, we don’t,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We’ve got to get that back, and it’s up to me to figure out how to do it.”
ABOUT MARYLAND (22-7, 10-6 Big Ten): The Terrapins are tied for third place in the league standings entering Monday’s action but still remain in good shape for a double-bye in the Big Ten tournament. Their issues against Iowa included 14 turnovers and a poor all-around effort from the 3-point line, where they shot 11-of-34 (32.4 percent) and allowed the Hawkeyes to shoot 16-of-26 (61.5 percent). Freshman guard Kevin Huerter, who had been 5-of-21 from the field in his previous three games, delivered 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting and five assists in a losing effort.
ABOUT RUTGERS (13-16, 2-14): The Scarlet Knights have not scored more than 65 points in any game during their five-game losing streak and rank 316th nationally in scoring at 66 points per game. Corey Sanders led the team with 15 points in Wednesday’s loss to Michigan, but he has basically been in a shooting slump since going 5-of-19 in the first meeting with Maryland. Mike Williams scored 14 versus the Wolverines after totaling nine points on 4-of-16 shooting in his previous two outings.
1. Sanders has recorded multiple turnovers in 15 consecutive games.
2. Freshman G Justin Jackson (10.7 points) is the second-leading scorer for Maryland but hasn’t surpassed his season average in any of the last five games.
3. Over the last two games, Trimble has missed 13 of his 15 attempts from long range.
PREDICTION: Maryland 70, Rutgers 58