PISCATAWAY - A girl said yes to her prom date on the giant video board, a Super Bowl champion threw an autographed football into the student section, and the Montclair-based Drums of Thunder crushed their halftime performance.
Yes, some unusual things happened Tuesday night at Rutgers Athletics Center.
Just not when it came to basketball.
With New England Patriots star Devin McCourty sitting courtside as part of a crowd of 6,017 at his alma mater, Rutgers dropped its sixth straight game, falling 79-59 to a Maryland team determined not to experience four straight losses for the first time in 12 seasons.
Free agency to end RU-Pats ties?
Buoyed by a strong visiting fan continent, Maryland, which slipped out of the Top 25 this week, snapped a three-game losing streak tied for its longest since the 2004-05 season -- a decade before joining the Big Ten.
Maryland (23-7, 11-6) held a 70-50 lead with less than five minutes remaining without the benefit a single double-figure scorer at the time. In the end, Melo Trimble's 11 points and each from Ivan Bender and L.G. Gill led the field of 10 scorers.
Damonte Dodd scored six points during a 17-4 run by Maryland to start the second half, knocking out Rutgers much earlier than it has been out of most of its Big Ten losses this season.
C.J. Gettys sparked Rutgers (13-17, 2-15) on both ends in the first five minutes, contributing a quick six points to an 8-5 lead. The 7-footer played worthy of the cardboard cutout held up by students sitting behind the basket.
Maryland responded with nine straight points, and Rutgers, which saw all but two of its first-half points come from the trio of Gettys, Deshawn Freeman and Corey Sanders, did not pull even over the remainder of the first half.
Four times the deficit was cut to two points, including in the final seconds of half before Trimble beat the buzzer with an acrobatic second-chance layup. The Terrapins shot 52 percent in the half.
Maryland hit two 3s in the first 107 seconds of the second half, extending its lead to a game-high 10 at the time. Jared Nickens, a South Brunswick native, added eight points to the win.
Rutgers couldn't muster a comeback because of swings like the one that happened just inside the 12-minute mark: Maryland's Kevin Huerter curled off his defender to drain a 3, while Mike Williams was called for a charge at the other end. The whistle offset the chance for a three-point play.
Williams scored a team-high 14 for Rutgers, while Gettys added 12 and Freeman added 11.
Rutgers wraps up its regular season at home Saturday against Illinois before beginning the 14-team Big Ten Tournament next week as the No. 14 seed.
Ryan Dunleavy may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @rydunleavy. Find NJ.com Rutgers Football on Facebook.
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