Men’s Basketball: Northwestern fails to close out Maryland, falls 94-87 in double overtime


Jorge Melendez/The Daily Northwestern

Junior Chase Audige makes a jump shot inside the paint.

Alex Cervantes, Reporter

Two moments in Northwestern’s 94-87 loss in double overtime to Maryland encapsulated the roller coaster night. 

At the end of regulation, after his team came back from the brink of collapse, Wildcats senior forward Pete Nance was at the line for a pair of potentially game-clinching free throws. Nance made the first attempt from the charity stripe to tie the game at 72-72, but missed the second. Terrapins guard Eric Ayala’s 3-pointer at the buzzer also missed, sending the game to overtime.

Then, in the first overtime period, NU (8-6, 1-4 Big Ten) found itself holding a three-point lead with just under 40 seconds to play. A convenient three-point play from Maryland guard Fatts Russell tied the game up, as the Terrapins (9-7, 1-4) ultimately staved off a collapse of their own and cruised to victory in the second overtime.

Russell’s dribble penetrations troubled the Cats throughout the contest, coach Chris Collins said.

“We’re committing some careless fouls,” Collins said. “And we’re getting beat downhill, guys are getting past us and it’s putting us in a position to foul around the basket. So in order to win, we can’t have a -20 free throw disparity in these games.”

NU was called for 31 personal fouls, in contrast to Maryland’s 19. Redshirt junior guard Chase Audige fouled out in the first overtime period, while junior forward Robbie Beran exited the game with his fifth personal in the second, leaving Collins without two starters in crunch time. 

Those lapses on defense paired with the cruel nature of basketball has left NU in a slump. The Cats ride a four-game losing streak, with each loss also coming by eight or fewer points. NU had postseason expectations entering 2021, but now sits 1-4 in conference play, with hopes of making the NCAA Tournament slipping away.

Finishing games has somewhat become an Achilles heel for these Cats, but that momentum can switch on a dime just by the result of one game, according to Collins.

“You just gotta win a game,” Collins said. “We have 15 left, so there’s plenty of opportunities, but you can’t win 15 if you don’t win one. Then you use that momentum to turn one into two and that’s got to be the focus, no matter who we’re playing. I feel we can compete with any of these teams.”

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Twitter: @CervantesPAlex 

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