Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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Men’s Basketball: Northwestern’s rebounding, steals overwhelm Maryland in 72-69 victory

Junior+guard+Brooks+Barnhizer+dribbles+the+ball.+
Henry Frieman/The Daily Northwestern
Junior guard Brooks Barnhizer dribbles the ball.

Looking to return to the win column, Northwestern took on Maryland Wednesday, putting its conference home winning streak on the line. 

The Wildcats (13-4, 4-2 Big Ten) last hosted the Terrapins (11-7, 3-4 Big Ten) two seasons ago, when they suffered a heartbreaking double-overtime loss.

Behind junior guard Brooks Barnhizer’s defensive effort, NU was more active in the passing lanes from tipoff, and seamlessly turned defense into offense. 

Barnhizer recorded three steals in the game’s opening minutes — all of which translated into offensive production. By the intermission, the ‘Cats had scored nine points off of 10 forced turnovers. Barnhizer recorded a career-high five steals. 

“(Barnhizer) is a statsheet stuffer,” coach Chris Collins said. “He knows he’s counted on, and he relishes that role.” 

Despite Barnhizer’s defensive display, NU struggled to generate much in the way of offensive momentum. The ‘Cats canned just one field goal over a four minute stretch in the first half, and needed to find scoring opportunities with players other than graduate student guard Boo Buie.

Coming off of the bench for a fourth consecutive game, senior center Matthew Nicholson gave NU’s offense a much-needed boost.

Nicholson played a pivotal position in the team’s pick and roll schemes and crashed the boards with a newfound tenacity. 

The 7-footer finished the contest with 10 points and seven rebounds, which Collins praised as one of his top performances this season.

“His energy, his fight and his competitive spirit have started to come back, which is huge for us,” Collins said. “His ability to be a lob threat around the basket to catch and finish is huge.” 

After 12 first-half fouls plagued the ‘Cats this past Saturday at Wisconsin, NU remained largely out of foul trouble against the Terrapins.

The ‘Cats did not send the Terrapins to the charity stripe during the game’s first 20 minutes. 

“Both teams were super physical,” Collins said. “We aren’t a deep team, so we need our guys on the floor. We’ve got to be smart and stay out of foul trouble.” 

As NU exchanged proverbial second-half blows with Maryland guard Jahmir Young, the team’s rebounding effort became especially important.

The ‘Cats corralled 11 offensive rebounds and had five players record at least four rebounds each, with senior guard Ty Berry and Nicholson tallying seven rebounds apiece. 

“Everybody’s hungry to get on the glass,” Barnhizer said. “It makes everyone’s job easier. We don’t need to have one of our centers get every rebound.” 

As the ‘Cats travel to Lincoln to square off against Nebraska Saturday, Collins said his group must put the positive result behind them to prepare for another test in a tightly packed conference race. He stressed the need to immediately flush out past results — whether it be a win or loss. 

“The mark of a good team is not to let one loss trigger into (multiple losses),” Collins said. “The teams that are going to emerge this year are going to be the teams that can bounceback after a loss.” 

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @aayushyagarwal7

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