Rutgers and Maryland share similar Big Ten records, are both playing well of late and are both in the NCAA Tournament field, according to several projections.
The Scarlet Knights look to inch closer to clinching at least a .500 record in conference games while the Terrapins are seeking a fourth straight win Sunday afternoon when the teams get together in Piscataway, N.J.
Rutgers (12-8, 8-8 Big Ten) needs to win two of its last four games to secure a .500 mark in the league. The Scarlet Knights will close out the regular season against three opponents currently below them in the standings in Indiana, Nebraska and Minnesota.
Rutgers has won five of its last seven since a five-game skid from Jan. 2-21, with the two losses coming against ranked foes Iowa and Michigan. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a 71-64 loss Thursday night at No. 3 Michigan when they shot 40.3 percent and made only 3 of 12 attempts from 3-point range.
“We’ll move on here quickly,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “We have four more huge games coming up in this league. Every team in this league is really good, so we’ll get back and start preparing for the next one.”
Jacob Young scored 16 points and Myles Johnson added 13 but was held to three rebounds after getting 14 on Feb. 13 against Northwestern.
Ron Harper Jr. finished with 12 points and while his 16.0 points per game lead the Scarlet Knights, he is shooting 36 percent over his last 12 games and has missed 22 of his last 23 3-point tries.
Maryland (13-10, 7-9) has won three in a row since a 73-65 loss to Ohio State on Feb. 8. The Terrapins swept Nebraska on consecutive nights last week, including a 79-71 win on Wednesday.
During the win streak, the Terrapins have averaged 71.6 points while shooting 47.9 percent overall and hitting 39 percent from 3-point range.
On Wednesday, the Terrapins tied a season high by making 13 3-pointers and got big games from their top two scorers as Eric Ayala scored a season-high 24 points and Aaron Wiggins added 22.
Over his last three games, Ayala is averaging 16.7 points on 48.6 percent shooting while Wiggins is averaging 20 points on 50 percent shooting during the winning streak.
“I think (the win streak) gives us a lot of confidence,” Wiggins said. “We felt like we really needed (these wins) and we were pressed to get them. So, guys were locked in and we were ready to go and we took care of business in the last couple games. So, you got to continue to move forward and build on it.”
–Field Level Media