Just don’t lose to Rutgers.
That’s been the motto for fans of downtrodden Maryland sports teams since the school joined the Big Ten in 2014. After all, the Scarlet Knights went 42-133-7 in Big Ten play across all sports last season and finished as a bottom-two team in 10 sports.
If things go downhill, facing Rutgers offers an opportunity to regroup. But failing to take advantage of that — as the Terps football team did last fall — serves as perhaps the harshest form of embarrassment a Big Ten team can suffer.
When Maryland basketball welcomed Rutgers to Xfinity Center on Saturday having lost seven of its past 10 games, it jumped on its chance to overpower the weak conference foe. The Terps beat the Scarlet Knights, 61-51, after leading by as much as 24.
Forward Bruno Fernando paced the Terps with an 18-point, 16-rebound performance highlighted by an inbound-pass alley-oop dunk over guard Corey Sanders. He also knocked down his first-career 3-pointer.
While the win won’t move the needle for Maryland’s miniscule NCAA tournament hopes, at least Turgeon’s squad avoided the humiliation of losing to the 13-16 Scarlet Knights on its own floor.
Forward Bruno Fernando: A
Fernando became the first Terp to register at least 15 points and 15 rebounds since 2011, building off a monster game against Nebraska on Tuesday where he scored 21 points and hauled in nine boards. After a lull in his production in January, Fernando is shaping up to have an end of season run that could tempt him to at least consider leaving for the 2018 NBA Draft.
Guard Anthony Cowan: A-
Cowan’s main contribution came at the defensive end, where he picked up five steals and helped hold Sanders, who averages 14.5 points per game, to just six points on 3-for-14 shooting. Cowan also supplied 14 points, six assists and four rebounds, though he turned the ball over four times.
Guard Darryl Morsell: B
Morsell also stepped up defensively, playing tight perimeter defense to keep Rutgers below 20 percent from 3-point range. Though it wasn’t his best offensive performance, as he scored just seven points and was careless with the ball, he did grab two offensive rebounds and dish three assists.
Guard Kevin Huerter: B-
This was only the second time all season Huerter failed to make a triple, as he continued to struggle from deep. Over the past five games, he’s gone 6-for-24 from beyond the arc. Without that threat, he had a mediocre showing against Rutgers, finishing with 11 points on 10 shots.