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Terps' Mark Turgeon opted to 'pull back the hounds,' showing respect for Rutgers, Eddie Jordan

Mark Turgeon, Eddie Jordan

COLLEGE PARK — Mark Turgeon and Eddie Jordan have taken similar paths in their respective careers.

As college players, each was the starting point guard on a team that lost in the NCAA semifinals -- Turgeon and Kansas to Duke in 1986, Jordan on an unbeaten Rutgers team to Michigan a decade earlier.

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Coming into the Big Ten Conference together last season, Turgeon's Maryland team and Jordan's team at Rutgers were both picked to finish near or at the bottom of the league.

While the Terps were one of the biggest surprises in the league and the country by finishing second behind Wisconsin in the Big Ten with a 14-4 record, the Scarlet Knights came in last, beating the Badgers but winning only one other game.

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The direction of the two programs continued to go their opposite ways Wednesday night.

Maryland's 88-63 win at Xfinity Center giving the now 14-1 Terps the school's first 3-0 start in league since the 2001-02 national championship team won its first three games in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Rutgers dropped to 0-3, the last two by a combined 47 points.

It could have been worse if Turgeon -- whose first three years at Maryland saw the Terps take similar poundings on a regular basis and even had three blowout road defeats during the first half of the Big Ten season a year ago -- had not substituted freely and rested his starters early.

The move was not lost on Jordan, whose team came in missing several of their frontcourt players. After holding Rutgers scoreless for the first six minutes of the first half, Maryland led by 28 at halftime and by as many as 42 points before Turgeon went to his bench and then to his walk-ons.

Coming on the heels of a 13-point win at Northwestern on Saturday in a game the Terps led by as many as 22 in the first half.

It was their most one-sided Big Ten win. It is the second-biggest blowout in a conference game for Maryland since Turgeon succeeded Gary Williams in 2011, one point off the 26-point win against Wake Forest in 2012-13. The Terps lost six times by more than 20 points in Turgeon's first four years, including by 24 last year at Ohio State.

"I appreciate Mark Turgeon for understanding who we are and deciding to pull back the hounds a little bit," Jordan said. "But I like the way our kids competed and that's who we are. I know Mark did some good things and he played some different lineups that he normally wouldn't play. He has respect for the game and where we are."

Said Turgeon: "I've been on the other bench, so I get it. He had to play five guards in the first half, but I wanted our guys to continue to play well and get better. We were able to share minutes. Obviously I didn't play Mel [Trimble] in the second half [because of a pulled hamstring] which helped me share minutes. We played a lot more zone, it helped speed the game up and give them a chance to score. I hope they get healthy and get guys back. It's tough for them right now."

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