COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland never trailed and it was never really close in Wednesday night’s 88-63 victory over Rutgers at XFINITY Center in College Park.
Against an undermanned and undersized Scarlet Knights team, Maryland simply overpowered the opposition by focusing on the interior offensively while flexing its muscle defensively to hold Rutgers to just 39 percent shooting from the floor.
Freshman Diamond Stone, in the starting lineup for the first time in the Big Ten season, scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Redshirt junior Robert Carter, Jr., added 12 points and seven rebounds.
In the second half, the game shifted toward the perimeter. In the absence of Melo Trimble for the final 20 minutes (more on that below), Jake Layman led the way with 18 points and Rasheed Sulaimon added 15.
Here are five things you need to know.
1) Diamond starts again
Reversing a trend that was set over the past seven games, star freshman Diamond Stone was re-inserted into the starting lineup for the Terrapins. Stone was a focal point early against an undersized Rutgers front line, but Maryland still ran into some of the issues it had the last time Stone started.
Maryland’s overall skill and size advantage covered up some of the issues, but the game was 13-9 when Stone exited the game at the 14:25 mark. A slow, drawn-out 10-0 run over the next five minutes or so of game time opened up the game, but it was more of the defense that carried the Terrapins than the offense.
Maryland ended the half on a 33-9 run after the point at which it was 13-9.
2) Using their size
Stone and Robert Carter, Jr. steered the ship in the first half. Even against a Rutgers zone, the Terrapins were able to get the ball into the middle of the floor. Stone had eight points in 11 minutes in the first half. Stone had 10 points in 14 minutes.
Rutgers really had no answer in the post, both offensively and on the glass. The Terrapins had a 31-12 edge in rebounding at the half. They finished +22 on the boards.
3) Injury issue with Melo?
Trimble played 14 minutes in the first half, but was being worked on by trainers on the sidelines with what looked to be a leg injury. Before the start of the second half, he was talking with the team’s athletic trainer and continued to try to stretch.
He did not start the second half. Rasheed Sulaimon and Jared Nickens started in the backcourt. Trimble remained on the bench throughout the second half. Official word from a Maryland spokesperson was that Trimble was held out with hamstring tightness.
More information should be provided postgame.
4) Bench gets plenty of run
By the two-minute mark of the first half, the Terrapins backcourt consisted of Jaylen Brantley and Varun Ram. Michal Cekovsky and Damonte Dodd saw a lot of time on the floor. With Trimble sitting out, there were even more available.
5) Nice performance from Nickens
Maryland’s bench has had some issues in recent games. Perhaps Wednesday night’s performance, ignited by Nickens, may carry over.
The three-point shooter and New Jersey native fittingly approached a double-double against his home state’s biggest school, putting up nine points and 10 rebounds.