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

The Daily Northwestern

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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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Rapid Recap: Northwestern 68, Maryland 61

Sophomore+forward+Nick+Martinelli+attempts+a+shot.+
Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal
Sophomore forward Nick Martinelli attempts a shot.

Fresh off of a six-day layoff, Northwestern returned to the court at College Park, squaring off against Maryland Wednesday. 

The Wildcats (20-8, 11-6 Big Ten) were victorious over the Terrapins (15-14, 7-11 Big Ten) in the teams’ Jan. 17 Evanston matchup and looked for a season sweep against their conference foe on Wednesday. 

Both teams struggled to score early, combining for nine points by the game’s first media timeout. Junior guard Brooks Barnhizer’s pullup jumper opened the contest’s scoring. Minutes later, sophomore forward Nick Martinelli’s hookshot snapped a near-three minute NU scoring drought and gave the visitors a 6-5 lead. 

As the ‘Cats held the Terrapins scoreless from the field over an eight-minute stretch during the first half, both teams faced difficulties finding any semblance of offense. Sophomore forward Luke Hunger’s layup gave the visitors a 10-8 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the half. 

While matching the Terrapins’ ice-cold stretch with a similar icy period, NU rode a 7-0 run off the charity stripe, extending its lead to 20-14 with less than five minutes before the intermission. 

The ‘Cats tallied their first points from beyond the arc off of graduate student guard Boo Buie’s pullup three, extending the visitor’s lead to 23-16. Scoring the next six points unanswered, the Terrapins trimmed NU’s lead to one with less than three minutes remaining in the first half. 

After Barnhizer’s late heroics, the ‘Cats held a 29-24 lead entering the locker room. 

Kicking off the second half, Buie’s driving layup and senior center Matthew Nicholson’s alley-oop score helped NU build a seven point lead. Minutes later, Martinelli’s and-one layup extended the visitor’s lead to eight. 

After the Terrapins scored six unanswered points and trimmed NU’s lead to two, sophomore guard Blake Smith’s and-one layup and Nicholson’s dunk were part of a 11-3 NU scoring run. The ‘Cats extended their lead to 10 with a little over six minutes remaining. 

Despite a late 8-0 Maryland run, Martinelli’s staple left-handed floater silenced the Terrapins in a visiting win. 

Here are three takeaways from NU’s victory over Maryland. 

1. Langborg loss looms large 

Minutes before tipoff, graduate student guard Ryan Langborg was ruled out with an ankle injury. 

Despite losing senior guard Ty Berry to a season-ending knee injury, the ‘Cats have gone 4-1. NU’s only loss over this stretch was when Langborg was ejected after a flagrant 2 penalty 10 minutes into the contest. 

With the Princeton transfer’s absence on Wednesday, the ‘Cats were similarly undermanned. The lack of available rotation players led coach Chris Collins to give Smith his first career start. 

Smith wasn’t the only Wildcat to see extended playing time early on. Collins elected to play sophomore forward Justin Mullins and freshman guard Jordan Clayton in the game’s opening minutes. 

Amid Langborg’s absence, NU struggled to lift the lid off the rim over the first frame. The ‘Cats shot at a 7-of-19 clip from the field, including a lone trey on seven attempts from beyond the arc entering the intermission. 

2. ‘Cats contain explosion from Terrapin guard Jahmir Young 

When both teams squared off a few weeks ago, the ‘Cats had difficulties containing Maryland guard Jahmir Young, who tallied a game-high 36 points. 

While NU came out on the winning side, Young’s efforts allowed the contest to come down to the final possession. If the visitors wanted a chance to complete the season sweep, they needed to limit the Terrapin guard. 

As both teams exchanged leads amid offensive struggles, the ‘Cats contained Young early on, limiting him to shoot 1-of-6 from the field and bucketless on three attempts from beyond the arc. 

While NU restricted Young’s shooting abilities, it faced difficulties keeping him off the charity stripe. The Maryland guard shot a game-high 10 first half free throws and tallied eleven points. 

Young wasn’t the only Terrapin held in check offensively. The ‘Cats held Maryland to shoot 5-of-26 from the field — including a 1-of-14 clip from deep — over the first half. 

3. Amid offensive struggles, Martinelli leads NU’s offense  

With an extremely thin rotation and points at a premium, the ‘Cats needed a player outside of Buie and Barnhizer to spark the offense. 

Martinelli answered the bell from the game’s onset. As NU struggled from the field, the sophomore forward remained aggressive. The Terrapins were unable to keep Martinelli off the charity stripe during the first 20 minutes and the Glenview, Illinois, native was perfect on eight attempts from the free throw line. 

By the intermission, Martinelli recorded a game-high 12 points while corralling five rebounds. 

Out of the locker room, the sophomore forward continued to lead the offense. Tallying 15 second-half points, Martinelli finished Wednesday’s contest with a career-high 27 points. 

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Twitter: @aayushyagarwal7

Related Stories: 

Men’s Basketball: Northwestern mounts effortless first-half comeback following Buie’s record-shattering shot against Michigan

Men’s Basketball: The Buie who’d be king: Boo Buie snaps Northwestern’s career scoring record

Rapid Recap: Northwestern 76, Michigan 62

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