Men’s Basketball: Northwestern can’t keep pace with No. 23 Maryland
February 15, 2017
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A sizzling Melo Trimble and a Maryland squad firing on all cylinders asked a lot of questions of Northwestern in Wednesday’s matchup, and the Wildcats didn’t have enough answers.
With the No. 23 Terrapins (22-4, 10-3 Big Ten) rolling and their star guard putting up a career-high 32 points, NU (19-7, 8-5) couldn’t keep up. The Cats shot 39 percent from the field and hit just 5-of-22 3s as they slumped to a 74-64 defeat at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Just days after scoring 25 in an upset win over then-No. 7 Wisconsin, junior guard Bryant McIntosh scored a mere 9 points, and he and sophomore forward Vic Law combined for a 7-for-25 shooting line. With its two best players struggling and junior guard Scottie Lindsey missing his fourth-straight game with illness, NU couldn’t find a consistent source of offense, a common theme in recent weeks.
“We’re not capable right now of throwing up 75 or 80 points. We just don’t have the firepower,” coach Chris Collins said. “Maryland is very potent offensively, and they score the ball, and we just couldn’t match that.”
The Cats’ defense was passable and disruptive in the first half, forcing eight Terrapins turnovers and blocking seven shots. But ice-cold shooting and foul trouble for McIntosh, who picked up two fouls within the first three minutes of the game and a third before the break, kept NU from capitalizing. At halftime, the Cats trailed 32-22, putting up their lowest point total in a half this season.
After the break, Maryland scored with ease. Trimble put up 19 points in the second half to power the Terrapins’ offense, which shot a cool 56 percent in the period, and a 3-point play from the guard stretched the visitors’ lead to 62-42 with 7:28 remaining.
“To be honest … it was really primarily on defense that was really killing us,” said Law, who spent much of the night matched up on Trimble. “Every time we made a run, (Trimble) made a 3, or he had an and-one.”
McIntosh’s early foul trouble gave Isiah Brown a chance to run the Cats’ offense. With a sluggish showing from many of his teammates, Collins said NU needed the freshman guard’s aggressiveness and scoring ability, and he responded with a team- and career-high 19 points.
His 11 second-half points helped slice into Maryland’s lead, and a layup by senior forward Sanjay Lumpkin cut the deficit to single digits with 3:16 to play.
“We’re a team that doesn’t quit,” Brown said. “Any time that there’s a deficit against us, we’ve got our backs up against a wall a little bit, we tend to try to fight back.”
The Terrapins ultimately stopped the bleeding. NU never got closer than 8 points for the remainder of the contest after digging itself too deep a hole to climb.
It was certainly a setback for the Cats after the huge victory against the Badgers. Collins declined to blame a mental hangover from that game for his team’s performance Wednesday, but said fatigue may have played a factor.
“We don’t have a whole lot of margin for error with the guys we’re playing with right now,” Collins said. “Our heads were in the right place; we were definitely ready to play the game … I just felt we were a little bit slower to the ball than we normally are.”