A dispiriting loss to Wisconsin on Sunday didn’t end up giving way to much change three days later. Northwestern (12-9, 3-7 B1G) traveled to College Park a day early, and played like they were homesick, remaining cold from the field in a blowout loss to 21st-ranked Maryland (17-5, 8-3).
Bruno Fernando led the way for the Terps with 22 points and 10 rebounds, with fellow big Jalen Smith adding 14 and 9. For Northwestern, Anthony Gaines had the only performance that could be considered good, finishing with a career-high 18 points and seven rebounds.
The Wildcats hit their first two field goals of the game, but cooled off considerably from there. Twelve consecutive missed field goals later, Maryland had surged to a 15-5 lead. Northwestern hit a couple of shots to cut the lead back to three, but quickly went cold again, and needed a nice Anthony Gaines steal/three-point play and a convoluted end-of-half sequence to keep Maryland’s lead at 11.
Anthony Cowan Jr. did pick up three fouls in the first twenty minutes, but that was about as far as the positives went for Northwestern. The Wildcats had three more fouls (10) then made field goals (7), and their general woes from the field traveled from Madison to College Park. Defensively, they made Fernando and Co. work for every basket underneath, but the Terrapins destroyed Northwestern’s bigs on the glass, garnering an 11-rebound disparity.
Virtually nothing changed in the next twenty minutes. After a quick Vic Law bucket, it was all Maryland once again, with the Terps using a 14-4 run to jump out to a 50-30 lead with 10:45 to go.
The Wildcats were on the wrong end of some questionable calls across that nine minute stretch, but also went 0-of-7 from three, not giving themselves much of a chance. Once again, the Wildcats seemed afflicted by the frigid Evanston temperatures from afar, reaching a low of 23.9 percent shooting from the field and 10 percent from three midway through the second half.
As you can imagine, things didn’t get much better from there. The Wildcats continued to refuse to innovate offensively, and though Ryan Taylor finally got a couple of shots to go, they never got back within 18.
For some reason (maybe he wanted to score more than they did against Wisconsin!) Chris Collins left rotational players in until there were 91 seconds left, so we didn’t even get any fun walk-on highlights. Oh, well.
Dererk Pardon finished with 14 points and seven boards, but it took him 14 shots to get there. Vic Law, A.J. Turner, and Taylor combined for 12 points on 5-of-22 shooting.
Northwestern will try to bounce back on Monday against floundering Penn State in Welsh-Ryan.