The stage was set for Tuesday night’s matchup between Rutgers and Maryland.
The two worst offenses and two best defenses in the Big Ten were prepared to do battle at the XFinity Center in College Park, MD with one question in mind — who could make enough plays?
Rutgers did not do a whole lot to answer that question comfortably but it was able to survive a late surge from Maryland during a 56-53 win.
With this victory, Rutgers (12-10, 4-7) is not in sole possession of 12th place in the conference. This also marked Steve Pikiell’s 129th victory, which is the third-most in program history.
The Scarlet Knights took a nine-point lead with under three minutes remaining. From there, Maryland scored the next six points to cut into the lead, aided by a technical foul on Derek Simpson for a very familiar celebration around college basketball. The deficit went down to one with under a minute remaining but Jeremiah Williams made the final play needed.
The Scarlet Knight transfer in just his second game drove to the basket and beat the shot clock to give Rutgers a three-point lead. Williams finished with 14 points while Mawot Mag added 15.
Maryland ended the first half on a 16-7 run to take a two-point lead but Rutgers scored the first seven points of the second half to gain control. From there, it was all about survival.
The trends for both teams were true once again. Teams combined to shoot 35.5% from the field and 5-for-31 from three-point range. The game combined to have 39 total made field goals and 30 turnovers.
Rutgers will be back in action on Saturday as No. 11 Wisconsin comes to Piscataway.
The Scarlet Knights have continued to play strong defense but the offense has shown its true colors. If the Scarlet Knights want a chance of earning a statement win on Saturday, the game will have to be another played in the 50s.