The Maryland basketball team is struggling more than they have at any point this season.
With a three-game losing streak in toe, the Terrapins will look to get back into the win column against Rutgers on Tuesday.
Maryland is coming off a loss at the hands of Iowa, who they had beaten earlier in the season on the road. The Hawkeyes outscored the Terps 36-29 in the second half and really shut down Maryland from the perimeter.
The Terps struggled to shot with any type of consistency from beyond the arc. Over the course of the game, Maryland shot just 32.4 percent (11-of-34) from three and star guard Melo Trimble only hit one of his nine attempts from that area.
For the second consecutive game, Trimble really struggled to get his shot to fall. The former Bishop O’Connell (Va.) standout has hit just eight of his last 25 field goal attempts (32 percent).
The Terps haven’t had a player score more than 15 points over the last two games. Forward Ivan Bender scored 15 points off the bench against Minnesota last week.
Maryland really needs to break out of their current funk. With two regular season games left before the Big Ten Tournament, the Terps are struggling more than they have at any point all season.
While this season has certainly been a success due to the youth on the roster, Maryland still has to end the year on a strong note. Wins in the final games could go a long way towards establishing a better seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Keys to the game
1.) Establish a lead early – Recently, Maryland has had a tendency to struggle in the second half. With a lesser opponent like Rutgers, the Terps are going to need establish themselves early on. Jump out to an early lead and force the Scarlet Knights to play from behind. This exactly a team that is known for being an offensive juggernaut as they’re currently last in the Big Ten in scoring offense.
2.) Control the paint – Rutgers is surprisingly one of the better rebounding groups in the conference. In fact, the Scarlet Knights lead the Big Ten in offensive rebounds with 14.8 per contest. Rutgers boasts three players that average at least 5.0 rebounds-per-game. The frontcourt has certainly been Maryland’s biggest weakness as of late. Damonte Dodd and Bender really need to assert themselves early and crash the offensive glass, especially if the Terps are missing a significant amount of shots again.
3.) Which backcourt shows up? – These are two of the better backcourts that the Big Ten has to offer. Maryland hasn’t been shooting the ball well as a group over the last three games. Mark Turgeon is going to need the likes of Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter, and Trimble to show up and shoulder the scoring load. If not, it could be another disappointing outing.
Players to watch
Corey Sanders (guard) – Sanders is a sensational finisher at the rim. This is a guard that isn’t afraid to put the ball on the floor and throw any kind of shot at the basket. His offensive weakness is his three-point shooting as he only hits 28.8 percent of his attempts. However, he’s also a fine distributor and can also rebound the basketball. He’s the guy that the Terps will need to key in on on every trip down the floor.
Nigel Johnson (guard) – Much like Sanders, Johnson is a guard that isn’t afraid to put the ball on the deck. He can be very smooth as he glides his way to the rim. Johnson has a little bit more range than Sanders and does chuck up 3.7 threes per contest. The Ashburn (Va.) native can also getting into the passing lanes and pick up his fair share of steals. Johnson has 11 games in which he’s swiped the ball multiple times.
Mike Williams (guard) – Much like Maryland, Rutgers has quite a bit of guard depth. Williams is a guard that has a knack for cutting to the basket. He oftentimes finds himself in a great position for a high percentage shot. While the stats may not reflect it, Williams is a guy that can knock down his fair share of jumpers. With this three-headed monster in the backcourt, the Terps will have to be on their toes.
This is by far the worst that Maryland was looked all season. Aside from the Iowa game, they’ve led at halftime in their other two losses. The Terps are going to need to start strong and shoot better from beyond the arc.
The scoring load has been balanced lately, but no one has really stepped up when Mark Turgeon has needed a marquee performance. Trimble hasn’t played his best since his monstrous two-game stretch in which he averaged 29.5 points. Maryland is going to need him to pace the team if they want to get out of Piscataway with a manageable victory. Terps finally win one 72-58.