Piscataway, NJ–Having won a nation’s best 17 home games, Rutgers had a tall task tonight playing No.9 Maryland at the RAC on Senior Night. Tonight marked the venue’s ninth straight sell out of a school-record 10 this season.
The Scarlet Knights are now 18-29 all-time versus ranked foes at a capacity RAC and 4-4 under head coach Steve Pikiell, including three straight wins by double digits.
Tonight marks the 15th meeting dating back to 1940 and the second this season after a 56-51 UM win in College Park. Rutgers overcame an eight-point deficit to tie with three minutes remaining in the game but could not complete the comeback.
In front of 8,000 fans Rutgers upset #9 Maryland 78-67 at the RAC in Piscataway, New Jersey. The Scarlet Knights used a combination of defenses to frustrate all universe guard Anthony Cowan in the first half and got more physical with him in the second.
“The place was jumping. I’m proud of my team,” head coach Steve Pikiell said. “A great win for us tonight. We’ll just try to remain locked in on the next game at Purdue and let everyone else talk about that.”
Rutgers made history – a program-record 18th home win this season and the first non-losing Big Ten record since joining the league. With the win, they denied Maryland a share of the conference championship and probably wrote their ticket to the dance.
It was raining threes for the Knights tonight and Jacob Young set the tone for the party. RU shot 49% from the field and torched the Terapins from downtown, shooting over 43% for the game. They dominated on the boards and playing stifling defense on the wings making the Terapins settle for jump shots. The Scarlet Knights led by 11 points in the first half, 21 in the second and for over 36 minutes in total.
“They’re 18-1 here for a reason,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Give them credit.”
Spark plug Jacob Young had 17 points and Montez Mathis chipped in 15 for the Knights (19-11, 10-9) while Geo Baker added 11 points. Myles Johnson and Akwasi Yeboah each had nine points and eight rebounds and Ron Harper Jr. had nine and seven boards.
Maryland’s Anthony Cowan had a game-high 19 points but had a hard time shooting over the athletic Montez Mathis. Jalen Smith had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but the rest of the Terrapins were a combined 12-of-41 from the floor.
The Scarlet Knights will close the regular season Saturday at the Boilermakers. A win in West Lafayette would go a long way with the NCAA committee.
“We played good tonight but we still have another game to prepare for. We just follow the game plan laid out by the coaches and we executed as plan. I just come in and do whatever it takes to help my team win.” Rutgers guard Jacob Young said.