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Rapid Reaction: Red-hot Maryland pulls away from Northwestern in 75-59 loss

The Wildcats have now dropped two in a row in tough venues.

@NUMensBball on Twitter.

Perfection is about as necessary of a condition for a road win in College Park as the letter “W.” It’s even more important when Maryland’s offensive play almost embodies that quality.

While No. 21 Northwestern (20-9, 11-7 B1G) kept up with the Terrapins (20-9, 11-7 B1G) in a first half that looked more like a track meet than a basketball game with the constant scoring from both teams, Maryland extended its remarkable shooting display in the second half to coast to a 75-59 victory over the Wildcats.

The Terps made 14 of 22 threes in the contest, a season high. Jahmir Young lit the fuse for the offensive explosion, scoring 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, along with four three-pointers. Four other Terps reached double figures. Donald Carey poured in 13 points and four treys, and Julian Reese posted a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.

For the ‘Cats, Chase Audige led the way with 16 points on a 7-of-12 mark from the field, with 14 of those points coming in the first half. Brooks Barnhizer and Matt Nicholson also reached double figures with 11 and 10 points respectively, while the Terrapins held Boo Buie to just four points on 1-of-9 shooting after he scored a career-high 35 points against Illinois on Thursday.

Robbie Beran struck first with a steal and a layup in transition on Maryland’s first possession. The two teams went on to trade baskets, as Buie followed up a Reese layup with a lob assist to Matthew Nicholson before Young drained a fastbreak three.

A few possessions later, Hakim Hart followed up a putback dunk by Nicholson with a three-pointer of his own, putting Maryland up 9-6 heading into the under-16. For the next few minutes, both teams went blow for blow. Young answered a Chase Audige three with a layup, and Brooks Barnhizer hit another second-chance layup.

From there, Audige began to get very hot, nailing a midrange jumper and responding to an Ian Martinez trey with another bucket from beyond the arc. Maryland’s Donta Scott converted two buckets inside, but Northwestern’s offense kept clicking. Nick Martinelli made a hook shot, and Audige reached double figures with yet another score. It took the game into the under-12 stoppage, with the Wildcats leading 20-18.

Northwestern continued to thrive offensively out of the timeout, as Ty Berry drew a foul on a three-point attempt and drained all three free throws. Maryland promptly halted that momentum, though. Buie committed a turnover by dribbling off his foot under Northwestern’s basket following a UMD layup. A layup and a Young three later, Maryland found itself up 25-23 on a 7-0 run.

UMD’s defense stiffened up as well, as it forced another Buie turnover and a contested three-point attempt by Berry with the shot clock about to expire. Although the Terps couldn’t extend their lead, they went almost three minutes without allowing a Northwestern score heading into the under-eight. Additionally, Buie was still scoreless.

Beran ended the drought immediately with a jumper off an assist from the senior guard, who picked up his sixth assist on NU’s next possession with a feed to Tydus Verhoeven. But Maryland wouldn’t relent. Donald Carey punctuated the answer with a three, and the Terps forced Chris Collins to call a timeout on the ensuing inbound.

It continued to rain threes in College Park. Barnhizer swished one from the corner, but Carey immediately answered with another trey. Both teams were shooting over 60% from the field, and a combined 9-of-14 from beyond the arc. Audige kept up his great start with another midrange jumper, but the XFINITY Center erupted when Young slammed home a resounding dunk over Martinelli. Following a Nicholson putback, the ‘Cats trailed 35-34 with 3:17 left in the half.

After a few Maryland misses, Buie finally got on the board with a three off a screen to take the lead. Both squads continued to shoot the lights out of the building, as UMD made its seventh trey in nine attempts only for Audige to drain a DeMar DeRozan-esque contested fadeaway. Young fittingly capped off the half with a stepback triple over two defenders to send Maryland into the break with a 41-39 edge.

The UMD guard went into the break scorching hot, having scored 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Audige played just as well, dropping 14 points with the same clip from the field after a rough offensive stretch entering the game. It spoke volumes about both teams’ offensive firepower, as Northwestern and Maryland were still shooting over 60% combined from the field and almost the same mark from three-point land.

The ‘Cats picked up right where they left off with a quick layup and a lob by Nicholson. But so did Maryland, as those two scores sandwiched a Hart triple. About a minute later, the Terps stripped Audige and capitalized on the turnover with a Donta Scott three. Scott then poured in a hook inside, giving Maryland a 50-43 lead, its largest of the day.

Yet, just when the Terps appeared to have seized the momentum, Berry quieted the crowd with another three-bomb. It was a huge response going into the under-16, but Maryland’s answer was even stronger. Reese found himself open for a wide open dunk, and Martinez drained a corner trey to extend the Terps’ lead to nine. The ‘Cats looked rattled on offense throughout the UMD run, committing a backcourt violation and failing to convert a few contested layups.

Gradually, NU cut into the deficit. Verhoeven tipped in a Barnhizer miss, and Buie cashed in one of two free throws to make it 55-49 Maryland. However, the Wildcats couldn’t reach the offensive heights they enjoyed in the first period, as an Audige pass to an open Barnhizer on the baseline sailed out of bounds. It was aptly a sour note for Northwestern — down eight — to go into the under-12 timeout on.

Scott extended the Maryland lead to double digits with a layup over Martinelli, but Barnhizer answered with a twisting layup on the other end. Nevertheless, the roaring crowd and UMD’s red-hot shooting persisted. Carey made his third three of the half, putting Northwestern into an 11-point hole and sending the crowd into a frenzy.

Young kept the party going, snaking his way through the lane for two. It forced Collins to use another timeout, with the ‘Cats trailing 64-51. Verhoeven sparked some optimism with a rejection, but Carey nailed yet another deep three-pointer to put Maryland ahead by 16.

Northwestern kept struggling from the field, going through a stretch in which it hit just one of nine field goals. To make matters worse, Reese converted an and-one and Martinez answered an Audige score with his third make from beyond the arc. With about three minutes to play, the shot increased Maryland’s lead to 18, essentially putting the game out of NU’s reach.

The Terrapins kept pouring it on, which allowed their five seniors to exit the court to a loud ovation on Maryland’s Senior Day with about a minute remaining.

Northwestern will play its final home game on March 1 against Penn State for its own Senior Night. Tip is set for 8 p.m. CT.