Northwestern hoped to continue its late-season turnaround, but instead the Wildcats continued their streak of losses at Maryland with a disappointing 73-57 defeat.
Maryland’s (17-10, 6-8 B1G) excellent shooting performance and a mediocre offensive performance from Northwestern (15-11, 6-7 B1G) culminated in the Wildcats falling back below .500 in conference play.
Northwestern could not stop Kevin Huerter, who scored 22 points and went 7-of-12 from the field. Maryland got solid performances from Anthony Cowan and Darryl Morsell while Northwestern’s stars looked completely disengaged at times. Bryant McIntosh was completely nonexistent, scoring 0 points for the first time in his career. The Wildcats were alternatively shot out of the game or kept in the game by a streaky Scottie Lindsey (20 points), but with Vic Law only scoring 5 and Dererk Pardon committing 4 turnovers, Northwestern couldn’t keep in touch with Huerter and Maryland.
The game got off to a high-flying start as the two teams combined for 22 points before the first TV timeout. Kevin Huerter had 9 points early, knocking down two three-pointers and fueling Maryland’s 14-8 run. The Terps started 5-for-5 from the field. Maryland soon extended the advantage and held a 19-10 lead at the under-12. Northwestern missed Jordan Ash, who was out for the game with a “lower body injury.”
Maryland picked apart Northwestern’s matchup zone defense. Maryland had 5 made threes before the 10:00 mark and Northwestern’s offense once again stalled out. Maryland had no such issues, hitting two more threes before the under-8 mark that extended the lead to 28-14.
Down 32-16, Northwestern started to figure things out on the offensive end. The Wildcats went on a critical 8-0 run at this point. Scottie Lindsey, who had been awful for the remainder of the first half, came up huge. A dunk and a three just before the interval cut the lead to five. While Maryland did hit a shot to put the lead back to seven, the Wildcats had to be happy with surviving another poor stretch offensively.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats could not survive another poor stretch to start the second half. Maryland started the half with a 7-0 run capped by another three that made it 43-29, forcing Collins to call a timeout. After the teams traded scores, Northwestern clambered back into the game after Aaron Falzon scored 8 straights point for Northwestern, including threes on back-to-back possessions.
Northwestern was unable to trim the lead as the second half wore on. By the under-8, Maryland was coasting with a 12-point advantage. Once again, it seemed like Northwestern could not get all aspects of the team to click at one time. As soon as the defensive intensity opened a door, Northwestern would have a costly turnover or miss.
Maryland ended the game with a convincing defensive stand as Northwestern’s offense once again disappeared. The Wildcats scored 3 points in just under nine minutes after the under-12, a disastrous output that handed the game to the Terrapins.
Northwestern has go back to the drawing board yet again before finishing off its road trip at Rutgers on Tuesday night. The offense and defense were badly exposed by a struggling Maryland team missing Justin Jackson and Ivan Bender.