Northwestern fell to 13-2 after losing to Maryland 72-59. While Welsh-Ryan Arena was packed, Northwestern fell behind early and was unable to mount a second-half comeback.
Northwestern was physically dominated by Maryland in the first half and could not muster a strong response in the second half as Maryland rolled to victory. Northwestern shot a paltry 10 percent (2-20) from three. Because Northwestern is so reliant on three-pointers on offense, the team will probably lose any games in which it shoots 10 percent from three on 20 attempts against a half-decent opponent. The first half turnovers also put Northwestern completely out of the game.
On defense, Northwestern was unable to deal with the quickness of Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon. There were fewer defensive lapses than usual as the zone worked reasonably well, but Maryland was able to beat Northwestern in transition and through excellent perimeter shooting. Northwestern has to get out and contest threes or else teams will continue to burn Northwestern outside. The Wildcats played much better in the second half as Maryland kept itself afloat through ridiculous plays from its guards, but it was not enough to earn Northwestern a victory.
Once again, McIntosh was Northwestern’s best player on the floor. He almost picked up a double-double with 17 points, 9 assists, and three steals. McIntosh made dazzling runners and displayed some brilliant drives to the basket. McIntosh proved that his improved play against inferior opposition was no fluke and played well against an athletically superior Maryland team. He also played for the entire game. The only negatives were his poor performance from three and below-average perimeter defense. Hopefully McIntosh can regain his three-point stroke soon as he has missed his last eight attempts going back to the Nebraska game.
Demps had his worst game of the season against Maryland, shooting 25 percent from the field on 16 attempts with just one rebound and zero assists. Demps was ice-cold from just about everywhere on the floor. His three-point shooting was not even close at times, and he failed to get to the line at all. Early in the game, Demps had two bad turnovers that allowed Maryland to take an early lead and put Northwestern in a hole. He must play better in order for Northwestern to succeed in the Big Ten.
Falzon showed some good development in his game. Instead of just being on the floor to shoot threes, Falzon took some drives to the basket and got to the line. Falzon also picked up three offensive rebounds and was good on the boards. However, he missed his two three-point attempts, and Northwestern really could have used better shooting. He was on the floor for 29 minutes but only attempted four shots. He did shoot an improved 75 percent from the line, however. Defensively, Falzon did not have good awareness and Maryland was able to take advantage of him on a couple easy lobs and quick passes.
Maryland was able to repeatedly exploit Northwestern’s weaknesses in this game, including Lumpkin’s offensive shortcomings. Lumpkin was 1-6 from the field and 0-3 from beyond the arc and Maryland basically ignored him on defense. Other than one solid play in the paint, Lumpkin was a complete liability on offense, missing open shots and taking one ill-advised pull-up three. Lumpkin played just 7 minutes in the second half and only had three rebounds in the game. Defensively, Lumpkin was fine in the zone, but he still has trouble defending one-on-one against stronger opponents. Lumpkin also was also partly responsible for a bad five-second violation early in the second half, as he failed to get the ball to McIntosh and nobody came back to give him a second option.
Joey van Zegeren
This was a prototypical Joey van Zegeren game. He had some good moments offensively and played well at the rim, but he shot 2-7 from the free throw line and turned the ball over twice. He is a solid rim protector, but he is not an above-average rebounder and his hands are not as good as Pardon’s. Offensively, van Zegeren is not nearly as effective as Pardon and that was very clear against Maryland.
Pardon was never going to repeat his performance against Nebraska against Maryland. He got into foul trouble early in the game, which limited his effectiveness. Pardon was clearly Northwestern’s best option at center offensively, and he will be even better as he develops a rapport with McIntosh. His hands are incredible, and he catches passes and loose rebounds very well. His finishing at the rim is great but he needs McIntosh and Demps to get him the ball in order to have a major impact on offense. His post-up game was nonexistent against Maryland's bigs, and I only remember a couple post-up attempts for the whole game. Defensively, Pardon still has some work to do.
Lindsey played 20 minutes, but he did not make a huge impact. He took all of his shots in the second half as Northwestern tried to come back, but he was ineffective on defense and on the glass throughout the game. Northwestern badly needed Lindsey’s three-point shooting, but it just wasn’t there. He made one of Northwestern’s two three-pointers and scored 7 points. Defensively, Lindsey was beaten by Melo Trimble and Maryland’s guards all night. Also, he needs to contest shooters better at the three-point line.
Skelly missed his only shot attempt and looked overmatched physically against Maryland. Collins completely abandoned playing him in the second half. With Pardon now in the rotation and Falzon settling in as a starter, Skelly's playing time will probably be similar to this game.
Taphorn played 11 minutes and made no impact on the game. He missed his only three-point attempt and did not score. Defensively, Taphorn did not have any glaring miscues. He did manage to pick up three defensive boards. Northwestern desperately needs small contributions from its bench players, and Taphorn was unable to provide his usual one or two three-pointers.
Ash played two minutes at the end of the game which did not warrant a grade. Like the rest of the team, he bricked a three.