By: Brittney Bridges
Northwestern came into the Xfinity Center Wednesday night ranked only 11th in the Big Ten, with just three wins against Illinois, Indiana and Rutgers. They’ve struggled production-wise over their past couple of games, as they were only able to put up 46 points in their previous game against Wisconsin.
The Terrapins also entered the game coming off a two-game losing streak, falling against Michigan State and Illinois. Both teams had something to prove, but Maryland pulled it out thanks to their defensive efforts and other players stepping up when they needed to. As for Northwestern, their struggles continued.
“It’s been our second game in a row where we’ve really struggled on the offensive end,” Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. “Credit to Maryland though, I thought their defense was good.”
The Wildcats shot an underwhelming 22 percent from the field and only made five of their 26 attempted 3-pointers in the first half. It didn’t change much in the second half either.
“We couldn’t make them pay from the outside,” Collins continued. “We did get some good looks but when you do get a layup or open shot; you have to make them.”
Both Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith Jr. gave the Northwestern bigs some trouble throughout the night, as one of their main offensive weapons, senior Dererk Pardon, shot just over 35 percent from the field. Pardon averages 61 percent from the field on the season.
“He’s a great player…I think I did a phenomenal job on him tonight and helped pull out the win,” said Fernando.
On the other end of the court, Fernando and Smith did have some troubles of their own. Smith started the game with two missed layups in a row and would only finish with five points, while Fernando didn’t heat up until the latter of the first half. Despite their issues, Northwestern couldn’t seem to put up a good shot against Maryland’s physicality.
Maryland kept both Pardon and sophomore Anthony Gaines under 50 percent shooting, which can be accredited to Maryland’s lengthy and quick roster both down low and guarding the Wildcat’s front court.
“Anthony is a really good defender for us,” Coach Turgeon said. “So to continue to guard the way we did without him was terrific.”
Cowan only played 18 minutes and didn’t see much action in the second half. That’s when other players like Ricky Lindo Jr., Darryl Morsell, Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala stepped up.
“We just have a really well-rounded team,” Morsell said. “We just focused on bouncing back…we were locked in.”
Maryland looks to continue this win-streak as they will be tested in their two upcoming games against No. 24 Wisconsin and Nebraska. The Terrapins improve to 17-5 and 8-3 Big Ten with their next match being at Wisconsin Friday night.