WASHINGTON, DC — Northwestern, frankly, didn’t need this win.
But it wanted it. Bad.
The Wildcats got revenge for a February loss to Maryland in a 72-64 win in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Thursday night.
Paced by the star trio of Bryant McIntosh, Vic Law and Scottie Lindsey, Northwestern used an extended second-half run to stave off the Terps and lead the program to its first-ever Big Ten Tournament semifinal appearance.
The perimeter players combined for 50 points in the win, the program’s first over Maryland as a Big Ten foe. Law poured in 17, while Lindsey added 17 and McIntosh finished with 16.
As a unit, Northwestern’s hot shooting from its win over Rutgers continued, as the team shot over 55 percent from the field and over 46 percent from three.
Maryland came out firing to start the game, boosted by the combination two quick Vic Law fouls and a number of live-ball turnovers.
Sensing the Terps could mount a run, Collins brought Law back in the game, despite the two fouls and the Wildcats responded. Northwestern made a run with Melo Trimble sitting on the bench, with Isiah Brown and Lindsey keying an 11-0 spurt that put Northwestern up 28-18 with under 9 minutes left in the first half.
But after Lindsey picked up his second foul with 7:19 left in the half, Maryland responded with an extended 18-6 run, capped off with an L.G. Gill buzzer-beater to take a 34-32 lead into the break.
And if Northwestern started the second half the way it began the first, Chris Collins and co. would have taken it without hesitation. Led by Kevin Huerter, Maryland sprinted out with an 8-0 run to take a 10-point lead at 44-34, before a McIntosh three ended an 8:36 field goal-less streak for Northwestern.
It also started something big: a 20-2 response to push the Wildcats up 54-46 with about 7 minutes left in the game. Maryland turned the ball over six times during Northwestern’s dominant stretch, as the Wildcats used swarming defense to contain Trimble’s drives and limit Huerter’s opportunities on threes.
And throughout the rest of the contest, Northwestern found an answer to nearly every Terp run. The Wildcats remedied their live-ball turnover issues from the first half, and capitalized on Maryland’s miscues, finishing with 25 points off turnovers for the game.
Northwestern will play Wisconsin at 3:30 pm ET on Saturday afternoon.