PISCATAWAY, N.J. — With Rutgers storming back from a 21-point deficit, Maryland needed an answer. The Scarlet Knights had cut the Terps’ lead to 10 and were threatening to close in on Maryland.

The Terps caught a break with a technical foul call against Rutgers and remained composed over the ensuing three-minute stretch where they scored three baskets and held the hosts scoreless.

Maryland men’s basketball held off Rutgers and largely dominated in a battle between two of the top defenses in the country, taking down the Scarlet Knights, 63-46, to record their second win in seven games.

“That showed a lot about our character, especially being on the road,” Reese said of halting Rutgers’ surge. “I just huddled the guys up and told them… stay calm, stay together and just keep fighting through it.”

The Terps (15-13, 7-10 Big Ten) fell at home to the Scarlet Knights, 56-53, during their recent tumultuous stretch, but secured a crucial win over Rutgers to move into 10th place in the Big Ten standings. With the win, they jumped out of the bottom four spots in the conference, which won’t get a first-round bye in the Big Ten tournament.

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The Terps got contributions from a variety of sources rather than relying heavily on their typical offensive stars early on, as each starter scored at least five points in the opening 20 minutes. DeShawn Harris-Smith got a pair of early driving layups to fall and Jordan Geronimo hit a corner three with the shot clock winding down to extend Maryland’s lead late in the half.

The latter sparked a 10-0 Terps run to end the half, in which Maryland held Rutgers (14-13, 6-10 Big Ten) scoreless for more than six minutes to take a 30-18 lead into the break. The Terps forced seven turnovers in the opening 20 minutes and the Scarlet Knights struggled from the free-throw line, shooting 5-for-12 in the first half.

Jahmir Young was one of three Terps to score six points in the opening frame along with Geronimo and Donta Scott. Young added six first-half assists, while Scott went 2-for-4 from deep.

Maryland continued to extend its lead after the break, embarking on a 10-2 run to start the second half. Julian Reese, who scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half, helped the Terps increase their lead to 21 points about five minutes into the half — their largest advantage of the game.

Rutgers surged after falling behind and cut Maryland’s advantage to just 10 with a 15-4 run. It featured an 8-0 spurt fueled by Jeremiah Williams, who scored all six of his points during the 84-second stretch. He scored 14 points against the Terps earlier in February in his second game of the season, but they’ve had more time to scout him in the last few weeks.

“They played totally different than before he was there, now you can game plan for him, and I think you have to because he’s that good,” Willard said.

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Maryland staved off the Scarlet Knights with a 7-0 run of their own immediately after. The Terps snagged 15 offensive rebounds on the day, including multiple down the stretch that prevented Rutgers from capitalizing on its momentum.

Geronimo grabbed six of those 15 offensive rebounds, securing the first double-double of his Maryland career with an 11-point, 11-rebound performance in front of 11 family members in attendance for the bout in his home state of New Jersey.

“It’s always a good feeling to be able to perform well, especially in my home state,” Geronimo said. “ I had a lot of family in the crowd so it was great to be able to go out there and do what I had to do.”

The Terps outrebounded the Scarlet Knights by 13 and held Rutgers to 37 percent shooting from the field and 18.2 percent shooting from three-point range to prevail in a battle of top-six defenses in the country, per KenPom.

Rutgers only managed 46 points as Maryland led by double digits for the entire second half and snatched an important Big Ten win on the road amid a dismal streak.

“This time of year, you could either pack it in a little bit and have a shitty attitude, or you can try to keep on fighting to make something happen,” Willard said. “They’ve had a good attitude all year, man, we’ve played hard all year, we’ve just struggled in close games.”