Men’s Basketball: Northwestern falls short at Maryland in overtime

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Men’s Basketball: Northwestern falls short at Maryland in overtime

Source: Reid Poluhovich/The Diamondback

Source: Reid Poluhovich/The Diamondback

Source: Reid Poluhovich/The Diamondback

Ben Pope, Reporter

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Men’s Basketball

Leads in both halves and in overtime all eventually disintegrated for Northwestern as it fell, 62-56, at No. 7 Maryland on Tuesday night.

The Wildcats (15-5, 3-4 Big Ten) led by as many as 6 points in the first half, 4 in the second half and a single point in overtime before Diamond Stone helped the Terrapins (17-2, 6-1) pull away in the closing minutes.

Maryland’s freshman center broke a 55-55 deadlock in the extra period with a 3-point play, then later hit two critical free throws to extend the lead to 4 points with 31.3 seconds left — a deficit from which NU was unable to recover.

“We had to try and manage the possessions and make it a grind it out game, and I thought we did that,” coach Chris Collins said. “We had our opportunities, but Maryland, give them credit, they made some plays down the stretch.”

Freshman forward Aaron Falzon led the way for the Cats with 13 points on 3-for-7 shooting from 3, while NU’s leading scorer this season, sophomore guard Bryant McIntosh, struggled with his shot on his way to 12 points on 5-for-18 shooting.

After an awful shooting night doomed the Cats against Penn State, NU made more 3s in the first half (four) than it did in the entirety of Saturday’s loss. Ultimately, the Cats went cold for yet another game, finishing a mere 5-for-21 from distance in a close game.

NU compensated with grit by dominating the boards, out-rebounding Maryland 41-32 overall and 16-4 in offensive rebounds. But the Cats struggled mightily at the charity stripe, converting just 5-of-12 free throws while their opponents drained 16-of-19.

“We just came together and knew the effort we could give. We expect no less than what we did today,” said Falzon, evidently pleased with his team’s performance despite the final result.

In the opening 12 minutes of the game, strong rebounding by junior forward Sanjay Lumpkin and scoring by freshman center Dererk Pardon off the bench, aided by seven Maryland turnovers, boosted NU to an early edge.

A 3-pointer by Melo Trimble, however, gave Maryland its first lead of the game in the closing minutes of the first half. The hosts finished the opening frame on a 10-2 run to lead 31-29 at the break.

Senior guard Tre Demps remained stuck in his winter slump for much of the night, failing to finish with the basket on four different fast breaks and converting just 3-of-14 shots.

But it was Demps who gave the Cats a 45-43 edge with 7:41 left in regulation before Maryland fought back. Jake Layman sent the crowd at the XFINITY Center into a frenzy with a 3-pointer to restore Maryland’s lead with 4:43 to play in the second.

Yet a McIntosh free throw that tied the score 48-48 with 2:34 remaining proved all the Cats needed to force overtime, with the two foes missing their final five combined shots.

From there, key plays by Stone, two crucial 3-point misses from Demps and made free throws by Maryland sealed the game for the Terrapins.

“For us to come into their home floor and battle the way we did, I’m proud of,” Collins said. “But tonight we weren’t able to finish the game.”

This story was updated at 12:10 a.m. with post-game quotes.

Twitter: @BenPope111