Rapid Recap: No. 17 Maryland 77, Northwestern 66


Joshua Hoffman/The Daily Northwestern

Pat Spencer goes up with the ball. He finished with 17 points in NU’s loss to Maryland on Tuesday.

Gabriela Carroll, Assistant Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball

Northwestern wasted another golden opportunity for a big win, losing a double-digit second-half lead to fall again in conference play.

The Wildcats (6-11, 1-6 Big Ten) lost 77-66 to No. 17 Maryland despite being in control for most of the game. The Terrapins went on such a big run at the end that the result was one of NU’s most lopsided losses of the season.

The Cats opened the game with a hot hand, starting the game on a 10-0 run, led by six early points from sophomore forward Miller Kopp. After the run, Maryland started a full-court press, but the Cats’ strong offense continued.

Kopp led the way with 11 points, and graduate transfer Pat Spencer got a steal and made a fast-break layup that had Welsh-Ryan Arena on its feet, to bring NU into the break with a 40-26 lead in one of their best halves of the season.

The game featured the highly-anticipated return of freshman guard Boo Buie from a high ankle sprain that has kept him out since the Hartford game on Dec. 29. He only scored three points, but his loudest cheers came in a sequence in the first half where he beat three Terrapin defenders, and then missed the floater.

Maryland began to wake up in the second half, cutting the deficit to six points within the first four minutes with the help of forward Jalen Smith, who scored five in a row. The Terrapins tied the game in the last five minutes and outplayed the Cats down the stretch.


1. NU got into foul trouble early, and stayed in it.

The Terrapins’ offense relied heavily on foul shooting, and the Cats provided a lot of opportunities for it. Maryland took 27 free-throws, and scored on 22 of them. NU committed 21 personal fouls, and was already in the bonus by the 12-minute mark of the second half.

The Cats shot 56 percent to Maryland’s 38 percent, but Maryland had triple the free throws, and despite taking roughly the same number of shots, NU struggled to make up this deficit.

2. After a tough stretch, Pete Nance rebounded.

Sophomore forward Pete Nance struggled in the past few games, failing to reach double figures in six of his last seven contests. But on Tuesday, Nance was a strong post presence, and used his size to score eight of his 11 points from inside the paint, including a second-half hook shot that got the crowd on its feet.

Nance’s resurgence as a scorer opened the court up for Kopp and Spencer to execute offensively, and all three players finished the game in double figures.

3. NU fell apart down the stretch in yet another close game.

After leading 40-27 at the half, it seemed as though the Cats had an opportunity for what would have been a season-defining victory. But, just like against Illinois on Jan. 18 and Indiana on Jan. 8, NU was unable to close it out.

The Cats’ foul trouble played a key role in their demise. In the second half, they committed 11 personal fouls, and a lane violation negated what would have been a missed free throw. Their inability to play clean defense prevented them from taking back their lead.

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