The records of Maryland and Rutgers stayed static, with each losing their first game of the week, but each rebounded for a win over the weekend. There were impressive scoring outputs put forth by two players that set career highs in scoring and there were horrific beatings administered by ranked teams in the AAC. The dizzying highs, the sobering lows, and the creamy middles are all in a week's work here at "Checking In With Maryland & Rutgers." Let's get to last week's recap.
Rutgers head coach Eddie Jordan had this to say after their 101-69 evisceration at the hands of #24 Memphis: "They're bigger than we are," he said. "They're tougher, and they're better. They almost shocked us with their physicality." That is, uh, not what you want to hear from your head coach halfway through the season. You can definitely trust Jordan on knowing when teams are better than his, because he used to coach the Sixers. Six players for Memphis scored in double figures compared to one, solitary Scarlet Knight that broke through into double digits. Kadeem Jack, the lone, brave soul in double figures, dropped 12 points and added six rebounds for the punchless Knights. Youngster Greg Lewis had eight points and six boards in nine minutes of playing time, which leads me to believe that Rutgers would have won if Lewis played every minute at every position for them. Memphis, like Jordan noted, was better in every single statistical category except for steals. Rutgers won that one nine to eight! A singular bright spot for Rutgers was their ability to get to the free throw line. They attempted 33 free throws, but made only 18 (54.5%), which is just further proof that everything you love will betray you eventually. In the second game of their road trip, Rutgers was able to bounce back for a 79-69 victory over USF. Jack went off against USF for a career-high 31 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 13-of-13 from the charity stripe. As a team, the Scarlet Knights were 21-of-26 (80.8%) from the free throw line against USF. DO YOU SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE YOUR FREE THROWS (and don't play one of the top-25 best teams in the country on the road)!?!?!? Wally Judge had 10 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks and Myles Mack had 15 points, five assists, and four rebounds to compliment Jack's record setting night. Rutgers faces off with #23 SMU at home and goes on the road against #13 Louisville this week. Rutgers plays ranked teams in five of their last seven games before conference tourney time. This recap might be ugly next week.
Coming into last week with a two game winning streak, Maryland hoped to continue their ascension up the ACC standings unabated, but had matchups with UNC and FSU in their way. However, the best laid plans of Terrapins and Mark Turgeon often go awry, as the poet Robert Burns said. The Terps lost their first game of the week to North Carolina 75-63, and the game was never really close. As he does, Dez Wells lead the team in scoring with 18 points and (unfortunately) seven turnovers. Evan Smotrycz had 14 points and four rebounds while Rebounding Machine Charles Mitchell had five points, three blocks, and 13 GOSH DANG REBOUNDS! The Terps suffered from a poor shooting night (39% from the field, 29% in the first half) and only eight points of bench production. Things turned around for Maryland in their second game of the week, an 83-71 win over Florida state. Seth Allen scored a career high 32 points, (including seven three pointers) and added four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Wells had 15 points and six assists and Jake Layman chipped in 12 points and five rebounds. In a reversal of fortunes, Maryland shot 52% from the field in this game and had 12 bench points (not a big difference, but Allen had a career night and also shut up). The win moved Maryland ahead of FSU in the ACC and into the top half of the conference. This week Maryland is at #18 UVA and at #8 Duke. Man, this recap might be really ugly next week.
I know y'all don't officially join the B1G until July 1st, but if you're jonesing for some B1G related content (mostly football, but still) the ESPN B1G blog is looking for input on your respective teams. Wait, screw that. Stay here and comment with your favorite spots to grab a beer and some food before/during/after the game in College Park and Piscataway. I'll start with a place in my college town, Madison: go to The City Bar on State Street before a basketball game and order the Wisconsin egg rolls.