COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Melo Trimble fueled a second-half surge that put No. 22 Maryland in control, and the Terrapins beat Rutgers 67-55 on Tuesday night to remain in first place in the Big Ten.
Trimble scored 17 points and freshman Kevin Huerter had 11 for the Terrapins (18-2, 6-1), who own their best record after 20 games since the 1998-99 season.
Facing a team that has never won a conference game on the road, Maryland led only 38-35 shortly after halftime before Trimble took over. He threw an outlet pass that led to an easy layup, then drilled a 3-pointer. Huerter followed with a 3 to make it 46-35 -- too big a deficit for Rutgers to make up.
Maryland entered the game tied with Wisconsin atop the Big Ten standings.
Trimble was too sick to practice Monday, but he showed no sign of illness while repeatedly slicing through the Rutgers' defense. The 6-foot-3 junior guard went 5 for 8 from the field, hit three shots from beyond the arc and had four assists and six rebounds in 34 minutes.
The Scarlet Knights (12-9, 1-7) went 10 for 24 at the free throw line in losing for the eighth time in nine games. Rutgers hasn't beaten a ranked team since 2008.
Despite the loss, the Scarlet Knights put up a decent fight. They trailed by 16 with 12 minutes left, cut the gap to nine with 5:24 to go but didn't have enough firepower to complete the comeback.
Trimble and L.G. Gill each made a 3-pointer in the final 55 seconds of the first half to give the Terrapins a 34-29 lead.
Rutgers trailed 18-11 before Johnson drilled a 3-pointer to spark a 9-1 run that forced Maryland coach Mark Turgeon to call a timeout. Minutes later, Sanders connected from beyond the arc to give the Scarlet Knights their largest lead, 25-22.
Rutgers: Though they hung tough for most of the first half, the Scarlet Knights aren't good enough yet to beat a Big Ten team on the road -- let alone a ranked foe that plays exceptionally well on its own court.
Maryland: Defeating Rutgers at home isn't exactly a noteworthy accomplishment, but in doing so the Terrapins enhanced their stature as a Top 25 team that's one of the best in the Big Ten.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights face another ranked team, No. 15 Wisconsin, on Saturday at Madison Square Garden.
Maryland: The Terps put their perfect road record on the line Saturday at Minnesota. The Golden Gophers upset visiting Maryland last February.