Terps Survive a Wild Scare, Hold Off Northwestern in Overtime

By Ethan Cadeaux (@Ethan_301)

After coming off a 35-point throttle of Ohio State on Saturday and arguably their best performance of the season, the Terps had plenty of reasons to be confident entering tonight’s clash versus Northwestern. After all, this was a team they dominated just a few weeks ago, beating the Wildcats by double digits on their home court.

The Terps were not nearly as sound on Tuesday evening as they were on January 2, the last time the two teams competed.

But good teams find a way to win, and the Terps (17-2, 6-1) were able to survive an energized, resilient Wildcat squad, defeating Northwestern (15-5, 3-4) 62-56 in overtime, despite being outrebounded 16 to 4 on the offensive glass and committing 16 turnovers.

“I think I knew after the first couple possessions, I yelled at my assistants ‘we are in for a tough one,’” said head coach Mark Turgeon on the rough evening. “I knew early. Every night is different. You have to give Northwestern a lot of credit tonight, they were really good.”

Despite a rough offensive performance, the Terps had a chance to win the game in regulation, as they held possession of the ball with 16.7 seconds remaining. Flashing back to his game winner against Wisconsin a couple weeks back, star guard Melo Trimble took an ill-advised fade away three pointer that fell short.

That one shot was a good representation of the Terps offensive performance tonight, as their offensive woes were evident all night long. They shot a measly 24 percent from behind the arc, and could not get in any type of offensive rhythm all game, scoring a season low 62 points.

“All night, we settled for jump shots,” said Turgeon. “We didn’t have a lot of great offensive rhythm; we didn’t have a lot of answers.”

After getting on Trimble’s case for taking a poor shot to end the game, Turgeon was very pleased with Trimble’s play in overtime.

“In overtime, [Melo] didn’t settle. He drove, got to the rim, got baskets for Robert [Carter Jr.] and Diamond [Stone]; he was terrific.”

Trimble finished with a game-high 18 points, to go along with six assists. Although he may not have played his best game, this was a nice bounce-back performance for the sophomore, who suffered back-to-back subpar performances against Michigan and Ohio State entering tonight.

Carter and Stone finished with ten and eleven points respectively, who were the only other Terps in double figures besides Trimble. Stone only played 15 minutes due to foul trouble, but made several key plays when asked upon.

The Terps offense may have been lackluster, but their strong defense ultimately prevailed them to another close victory.

“Our defense in the game was tremendous,” said Trimble. “That goes to show how hard we practice and the emphasis we make on defense. We’re a great defensive team and know how to close out games.”

This was certainly a tough loss for the Wildcats, who gave the Terps everything they had and were just seconds away from knocking off a top ten team in the country.

“When you play Maryland, were not going to win a racehorse game with them when they’ve got athlete on athlete and pro on pro,” said Wildcats head coach Chris Collins. “We had our opportunities, but Maryland, give them credit, they made some plays down the stretch.

Collins continued on, saying: “I’m just disappointed for my guys, because I thought we gave an effort that was rewarded with winning, but we just didn’t get that tonight.”

The Terps are learning how to win in several different ways, which good teams know how to do. Games like these, tough, conference games will benefit the Terps going forward. But with No.11 Michigan State on the road Saturday, and No.9 Iowa coming to town next Thursday, the Terps must play better all around in order to stay atop the Big Ten.