Melo Trimble dominated inside and out, scoring a career-high 32 points and leading Maryland to a 74-64 win over Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena despite a spirited second-half effort from the hosts.
Isiah Brown led the way for the Wildcats with a career-high 19.
Northwestern started the game with a Dererk Pardon dunk off some nice off-ball action, but the Terrapins scored the next nine points to take an early 9-2 advantage. Making matters worse, Bryant McIntosh picked up his second foul just 2:45 into the game going after a loose ball.
In stepped Brown, who hit a free throw and a pull-up three to bring the Wildcats within 9-6. The next four minutes only saw a jumper from L.G. Gill go down, and the teams went to the under-12 at 11-6. Northwestern simply couldn’t get anything to fall early on, including missing four open threes in a single possession. Maryland, on the other hand, got five straight points from Melo Trimble to go up 18-9, forcing Collins to call a timeout. Northwestern was 3-of-17 at the time and 1-of-9 from three.
Things didn’t get much better for the Wildcats by the under-4. Nathan Taphorn’s three and Vic Law Jr.’s tip-in brought it to 22-16, but on the other end, Damonte Dodd got a rebound off a missed Trimble jumper which led to an Anthony Cowan three to restore the visitors’ lead to nine.
But the hosts managed to stick around despite the poor shooting, thanks almost entirely to their swarming defense, at one point cutting it to 27-20. As soon as it looked like the Wildcats were putting things together, Trimble made more big plays, dishing out an assist to Dodd for a thunderous slam on the break and and answering a Brown layup with a three-point play to give the Terrapins a 32-22 lead at the break.
The stats were an eyesore for Northwestern in a half where their starting point guard played just 12 minutes due to his three fouls. The Wildcats made just 9-of-28 field goals, including 2-of-12 from deep, and were outrebounded by five. The visitors led for over 19 minutes of the opening 20 minutes. It wasn’t a particularly efficient half from either side; the Terrapins turned it over eight times while the Wildcats had five giveaways.
Trimble picked up where he left off with five early points in the second half as Maryland extended its lead to 41-28, aided by a pair of errant Northwestern passes. But Taphorn splashed his second three to cut it to 10 and Collins took an immediate timeout with 16:20 left. The junior guard would not relent, however, knocking down a three in Lumpkin’s face right before the under-16.
The Wildcats began to show some fatigue as the second half wore on, to be expected with (basically) a seven-man rotation after a taxing weekend win in Madison. Maryland extended its lead to 18 off back-to-back threes from Trimble and the other Justin Jackson. After Law Jr. jumper splashed through, the Wildcats trailed 56-40 at the 9:41 mark. Maryland had hit 9 of its first 10 attempts of the second half.
The Terrapins’ lead went up to 19 after a circus shot from a falling-down Trimble and then a game-high 20 following another and-one on a tough finish.
As soon as it looked like the Wildcats were completely done, they sprung back to life with a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to single digits. Spurred by Brown’s active defense and offensive aggressiveness, Northwestern had a chance to cut the Maryland lead to just six. But, a top-of-the-key Brown three clanged high off the back rim with Welsh-Ryan ready to explode. A Dodd second-chance bucket on the other end of the floor restored the lead to double figures.
- Northwestern — especially McIntosh and Law Jr. — was pretty clearly exhausted. A lot of the Wildcats misses were short, and they just didn’t seem to have the legs to keep up with the up-tempo Terrapins, who run 10-deep every night.
- Melo Trimble was simply unstoppable. He has had his issues from three-point range this year but was hitting those perimeter jumpers tonight. With his outside shot working, he was able to then curl off screens to get into the lane. Northwestern, sans Scottie Lindsey for the fourth-straight game, struggled to defend the speed of both Trimble and Cowan on the pick-and-roll.
- Northwestern has to find a way to get the ball to Dererk Pardon more often. He was 5-of-6 from the floor. But he too showed signs of fatigue, airballing two free throws down the stretch. His offensive game warrants more touches regardless.
- It was really an admirable effort from the home team. For much of the second half, the Wildcats simply couldn’t put anything together and looked sluggish on the defensive end as their opponents attacked ceaselessly. But then they turned it around. Which leads to a final point...
- Isiah Brown showed the mentality of a true scorer tonight. When the offense was stagnant, Brown breathed life into. Yes, he had some turnovers and took some questionable shots (he shot just 6-of-15), but he was also the reason Northwestern didn’t get blown out of the water. He was fearless in transition and by far Northwestern’s best player offensively.