By Max Marcilla
When Maryland basketball head coach Mark Turgeon was asked last week about his team’s road struggles, he shared that the Terps had just failed to get the big stop, or the big bucket.
After seven straight road losses — four of which were by six points or fewer — Turgeon’s team got it done with a 69-64 victory over Northwestern.
With 10 minutes left in the second half, Maryland’s guard Kevin Huerter was fouled, injured his finger and had to head to the bench. With Huerter on the sideline, and the Terps facing a four-point deficit, a quick 6-0 run capped by a pair of Dion Wiley transition layups gave Maryland a lead it did not surrender.
Wiley’s work in the paint during that second half run was just one example of the Terps’ domination inside. In the first half, Michal Cekovsky scored with a dunk on three straight possessions; Bruno Fernando made all three of his field goal attempts for nine points. As a team, Maryland outscored Northwestern 34-18.
Cekovsky’s work was much needed, as Northwestern jumped out to an early 9-2 lead before Maryland’s senior helped spark a 13-0 run.
In the game of runs, the Wildcats answered quickly, relying on the three-point ball to re-take the lead before the half. Entering the intermission, Northwestern had made eight of its 15 threes.
The second half was a much stronger defensive showing, as Maryland held Northwestern to 27 second half points, and just 2-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.
The win was critical for a number of reasons, the most prevalent being the Terps’ NCAA tournament hopes. With the win, Maryland advanced to 8-9 in Big Ten play, with one game remaining against Michigan.