There are the games that you should win — and there are the games you must win. Tonight’s match-up against Rutgers was the latter. However, Rutgers and their tough play at the end had the Terps on the wrong end of a 56-53 final score. The Terps cut it to one point with under a minute, and Rutgers got it back to three points to force Maryland to shoot a 3-pointer to try to tie it at the end. It was not meant to be.
Jeremiah Williams got the ball with the shot clock slipping away, and Rutgers basketball clinging to that one-point lead. This was all they needed to put the game away after he slipped in, and hit the shot with the shot clock literally at 0.1 seconds giving them another 3-point advantage. The officials reviewed the play and did not overturn it.
After the game, Williams was asked if he was the one Rutgers called the play for, or if he was just going to take things into his own hands.
“It was just time to go make a play,” Williams said.
This was also the first time the Terps have seen Williams in a game in a long time, and it looked like Maryland’s heach coach Kevin Willard didn’t have many answers for his late scoring. Williams missed nearly two years due to an Achilles tendon injury and an NCAA gambling suspension.
Julian Reese led the Terps with 19 points, and Jahmir Young finished with 16. The Terps let the game get away midway through the second half as Rutgers took a 9-point lead then a technical foul by Rutgers gave the Terps some light leading to a 6-0 run by the Terps late in the game.
Young had a tough time tonight against the defense by Rutgers’ Jamichael Davis. Maryland’s star still finished with 16 points, but that was on 3-of-17 shooting, and he committed five turnovers.
Rutgers (12-10 overall, 4-7 Big Ten) has won three straight in College Park and now trails the all-time series 13-8. Maryland (13-10, 5-7) was hanging on to NCAA Tournament contention by slim chances and this put them behind quite a bit more in the teams on the bubble.
Maryland has a tough road ahead over the next three games facing Iowa at home on February 14th and then back-to-back top ranked opponents in #10 Illinois and #11 Wisconsin before heading up to Rutgers for a rematch on February 25th.