Hosting #23 Maryland in Evanston, Northwestern (8-4 in the B1G) was looking for a statement win to climb back into the rankings and maintain 4th place in the conference. Coming off perhaps the biggest win in program history, Northwestern knew that missing Scottie Lindsey may not be the be all end all.
- With Scottie Lindsey out, Chris Collins went tall again with McIntosh, Law, Lumpkin, Taphorn and Pardon.
- Mark Turgeon went with Trimble, Cowan, Huerter, Jackson and Dodd.
In front of a packed Welsh-Ryan Arena, Northwestern started out slow, similar to last week. As has been the issue for Northwestern, they lacked aggressiveness early on and tried to play catchup too early. Bad shot selection allowed Maryland to go up 18-9 through the first 10 minutes.
After Bryant McIntosh was benched with two quick fouls, Northwestern’s offense continued to struggle, while the defense tried to hold Maryland within their grasp. The Terrapins would finish off the half with an and-one to lead 32-22.
After going up by as many as 18 points, Northwestern began to chip away at Maryland’s lead, looking more comfortable than they had earlier in the game. Northwestern narrowed it down to nine points with over three minutes left. However, as was the case the entire night, missed free throws plagued their comeback attempt and forced them to take desperate three’s. Maryland closed off the game to win 74-64 on the road.
Tonight was the first time Maryland has won a road game by double digits since…
Jan. 2 of last year, right here at Northwestern
— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) February 16, 2017
Why did NU struggle?
- Lacking the speed and athleticism of Maryland’s guards, NU got outhustled along the perimeter and couldn’t prevent penetration
- Matching Vic Law on Melo Trimble seemed to limit the damage but NU switched too easily on picks, and was more vulnerable on other matchups with Law on Trimble
- Once again without Scottie Lindsey and with McIntosh in foul trouble, NU lacked the ability to make plays on offense and lacked athleticism to penetrate the Terrapins’ defense
- For one of the better free-throw shooting teams in the country, NU shot a rough 13-23 from the line
NU player stats:
- Isaiah Brown had a needed 19 points off the bench, grabbing four rebounds but only dishing one assist
- Once again, Vic Law managed to score (12 points) but was inefficient in doing so, going 4-12 from the field and just 1-6 from behind the arc
Maryland player stats:
- Melo Trimble had an impressive 32 points in as many minutes of action, going 12-17 from the field
Melo Trimble's really attacking the rim off the dribble and off screens tonight. He has 18 of Maryland's 39 points. pic.twitter.com/ouhn1gKhpt
— Ryan Connors (@RyanConnors_) February 16, 2017
- Cowan scored 13 points while contributing 6 rebounds and 6 assists
As has been the struggle for Northwestern in past years with Maryland, they simply lack the athleticism to handle the balance of Mark Turgeon’s teams. While Vic Law was able to cover some of the perimeter and limit the guard penetration, it created other mismatches that the Maryland defense was able to exploit. Having the athleticism of Scottie Lindsey would have helped tremendously tonight. Despite some crucial missed free-throws, NU had trouble staying in this game because they couldn’t prevent Maryland from sticking to their game plan.
While the Wildcats have been able to handle road tests, they have now lost consecutive home games. They’ll have a chance to recover Saturday evening as they host Rutgers in a should-win and near must-win game for the Wildcats to get closer to securing a spot in the dance.