Saturday, January 15, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.
XFinity Center - (College Park, Maryland)
TV: Big Ten Network (PXP: Kevin Kugler, Color: Len Elmore)
Radio: Rutgers Sports Properties Radio Network (WCTC 1450 AM/WOR 710 AM; PXP: Jerry Recco and Color: Austin Johnson)
WRSU 88.7 FM RU Student Radio
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Scarlet Knights are back on the road for the for the second away game in a row in College Park against the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
The Scarlet Knights are looking to bounce back from a 66-49 loss at Penn State on Tuesday night in hopes of securing the team's first road win of the season. Geo Baker is set to play in his 129th career game on Saturday, which will surpass Myles Mack for the school record.
RU shot 33.9 percent on (19-56) shooting from the field. Penn State capitalized on the Scarlet Knights' slow start and jumped out to a 15-6 lead in the first half. The Scarlet Knights were able to hang around and cut the lead to four points with 15 minutes left in the game. Penn State took back the momentum in the last ten minutes of the second half to push the lead back to double digits.
Penn State guard Sam Sessions was the games' leading-scorer with 17 points. He was 7-of-10 from the field and sealed the game with a few three-point shots late in the second half. Guard Jalen Pickett led the way for the Nittany Lions early and finished with 15 points on the night. Big man John Harrar had 16 points and six boards, while shooting 6-of-8 from the field. Forward Seth Lundy added 10 points, four rebounds, three blocks and a steal in the defeat.
What to watch for on Saturday
The Terrapins are a different team than they were last season and the Scarlet Knights have taken notice. Graduate guard Fatts Russell has transferred over from Rhode Island and center Qudus Wahab has come to Maryland after a couple of seasons with the Georgetown Hoyas.
Key Quote from the Head Coach
"This is a really good Maryland team," head coach Steve Pikiell said on the Steve Pikiell Podcast with Jerry Recco. "They have really changed a lot up on us. This is a real tough venue to play at. They have downhill scorers. They are guys that can really attack the rim. They have guys who can score around the basket as good as anyone in the country. They have changed things a lot for us and we have to stay out of foul trouble. They attack you to get you to foul."
Senior guard Eric Ayala is the leading-scorer for Maryland and is averaging 16.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists-per-game. He is shooting 39 percent from the field on the season so far. The Scarlet Knights will see a heavy dose of Ayala who plays 33.2 minutes-per-game for the Terrapins.
Russell is another ball-handler in the starting unit and is averaging 13.2 points-per-game on the season. He leads the team with 4.1 assists-per-game.
"Russell has the ball in his hand all of the time," Pikiell said. "He's quick and fast, kind of like Jacob Young. He can really make plays around the basket. Combo him with Eric Ayala who has been a really good guard in our league for a long time."
Junior forward Donta Scott has a 6-foot-8 frame and leads Maryland with 6.9 rebounds-per-game. He is the third leading-scorer on the team with 11.9 points-per-game.
Junior guard Hakim Hart has pitched in with 10.2 points-per-game and is one of the best defenders on the team with 1.7 assists-per-contest.
History with Maryland
Rutgers and Maryland will meet for the 17th time in a series that dates back to 1940 and includes six meetings prior to both joining the Big Ten together in 2014-15. RU has won the past two games in this series with a pair of significant victories.
Last season, RU earned its first win at the XFinity Center with a 74-60 win.
The Scarlet Knights had four double-digit scorers, led by Ron Harper Jr. with 27 points and Geo Baker with 13 points. In the final home game of the 2019-20 season, RU upended No. 9 Maryland, 78-67, with RU fans rushing the court to celebrate RU's first victory over Maryland since joining the league.
Maryland last time out
Ayala led Maryland to its first conference win of the season as the Terps downed the Northwestern Wildcats, 94-87 in double overtime, on Wednesday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
The Terrapins were led by Ayala, who posted his first-career double-double with a career-high 26 points and a career-high 11 rebounds. Russell scored 21 of his season-high 23 points in the second half and two overtime periods.
Hart (18 points), and Scott (17 points) also scored in double-figures.
The Terps took control in the second overtime as Hart and Russell hit back-to-back jumpers to give Maryland an 89-85 lead with 3:10 left in the period. Maryland's defense buckled down in the second OT, holding Northwestern to just four points over the five-minute span. Maryland grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds in the final two minutes of the period to keep possession. Russell added three free throws in the final 46 seconds to secure the win.
The Scarlet Knights will wear alternate black jerseys on Saturday. Check them out in the video below with freshmen Jalen Miller and Jaden Jones: