Maryland keeps Rutgers winless on road with 61-51 victory
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — When he avoids silly fouls and plays with intensity, Bruno Fernando can dominate a basketball game.
Unfortunately for Maryland, it took the 6-foot-10 freshman nearly an entire season to get it right.
Fernando had 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and the Terrapins kept Rutgers winless on the road with a 61-51 victory Saturday night.
Maryland (18-11, 7-9 Big Ten) scored the game’s first 10 points, led 31-19 at halftime and opened the second half with another 10-0 run to pull away.
Fernando led the charge with an overwhelming performance on both ends of the court. He made several rim-shaking dunks, was assured his third career double-double with 19 minutes remaining and added some spice to the anticlimactic second half by drilling his first career 3-pointer.
“We couldn’t do anything with Fernando,” Rutgers coach Steve Pikiell said. “He was a monster.”
Fernando was coming off a 21-point effort at Nebraska in which he picked up four fouls. That led to an uncomfortable film viewing with coach Mark Turgeon.
“I let him play through a lot of mistakes the other night at Nebraska, so he was dialed in to the game plan today because the film session wasn’t fun,” Turgeon said. “For him to take that next step, he’s got to listen better and he’s got to pay attention to details.”
Here are the details of his night against Rutgers: Fernando picked up only two fouls, played 34 minutes and went 8 for 9 from the floor. Of those eight baskets, one stood out.
“The 3-pointer, for sure,” he said. “That was like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I had to get it.”
The long-range shot put Maryland up 55-36. A 10-0 burst by Rutgers cut the gap to 55-46 with four minutes left, but the Terrapins easily thwarted the comeback bid.
Anthony Cowan Jr. scored 14 and Kevin Huerter added 11 to help Maryland improve to 15-2 at home, a sharp contrast to its 1-8 road record.
Rutgers (13-16, 3-13) has lost 8 of 9 overall and is 0-8 on the road. In their four seasons in the Big Ten, the Scarlet Knights are a collective 1-34 in conference road games.
“Trying to win on the road in the league is hard as any league in the country,” Pikiell said.
Especially at Maryland.
“When we deserve to win a game like this, we will,” Pikiell said. “We didn’t play well enough today to win.”
Eugene Omoruyi scored 11 for Rutgers. Corey Sanders, the team’s leading scorer, was limited to 6 points on 3-for-14 shooting.
The Scarlet Knights missed three shots and committed three turnovers on their first six possessions, and a dunk by Fernando capped a game-opening, 10-point surge that put the Terrapins ahead for good.
It was 21-14 before Cowan made three driving layups in an 8-1 spree that restored Maryland’s double-digit lead.
In the second half, two baskets by Fernando and 3-pointers by Cowan and Dion Wiley made it 41-22.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights have failed to build on last season, when they won a school-best three games in the conference and beat Penn State on the road. Rutgers isn’t half bad at home, but its continued struggle on the road remains a glaring weakness.
Maryland: The Terrapins put on another impressive show at home. Maryland would be in the upper half of the Big Ten standings if it wasn’t so darn inconsistent on the road.
BACK IN ACTION
Rutgers guard Mike Williams played 27 minutes, scoring four points in his third game back from a sprained ankle that was originally thought to be a season-ending injury.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I didn’t want to be finished, or on the sideline, my senior year.”
Rutgers: At Ohio State on Tuesday night. It’s the Scarlet Knights’ final opportunity to secure a road win.
Maryland: At Northwestern on Monday night in a rematch of a Feb. 10 game won by Terps 73-57.
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