The Maryland Terrapins held off an upset threat and needed overtime to top the Northwestern Wildcats 62-56 Tuesday night. Senior guard Melo Trimble led all scorers with 18 points, and he carried the Terrapins (17-2, 6-1 B1G) down the stretch and through overtime.
Trimble was helped in overtime by freshman center Diamond Stone, who completed a three-point play with 1:13 left to give the Terrapins the lead. Stone finished with 11 points in 15 minutes.
Neither team scored in the last 2:30 of regulation, which was a fitting finish for the uncharacteristically low-scoring game. Both teams shot just 23 percent from behind the arc, and their field goal percentages were well below their season averages.
“[Trimble is] a tough cover, especially with all the weapons he has now,” Northwestern head coach Chris Collins said. “We’re not going to shut him out, he’s too good of a player. But the fact that it took him 18 shots to get 18 points is good. I also thought we kept him off the foul line. A lot of times when Melo is at his best, he’s really getting to the line 10-12 times. I thought our guys fought, but give him credit.”
Northwestern (15-5, 3-4 B1G) had their main advantage on the glass, out-rebounding the Terrapins 42-31. 17 of those rebounds were offensive, but the Wildcats had problems converting on their frequent second chances, shooting 35 percent from the field.
“It was really hard to score against them,” Collins said. “I think they’re the tallest team in the country. When you have three guys who are close to seven-footers and then you have Jake Layman, who’s 6- 9, they have length and athleticism.”
Maryland was able to stifle Northwestern’s normally high-scoring backcourt, limiting Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps to a combined 18 points on 8-32 shooting.
“They do a pretty good job with the ball, but when you get past them they are so big,” Demps said. “They have NBA -type size down there. Once you get past one guy you have another seven-footer flying at you.”
Trimble’s backcourt mate Rasheed Sulaimon also struggled, failing to convert on any of his four field goal attempts. Sulaimon averaged 10.9 points per game coming into Tuesday’s game, and had 16 points in the Terrapins’ win at Welsh-Ryan arena on Jan. 2.
The Wildcats didn’t have senior center Alex Olah for their last meeting against Maryland, but he still did not make much of an impact on Tuesday. He failed to score in 13 minutes, and shot 0-5 from the field.
Freshman Dererk Pardon started out strong inside for the Wildcats, scoring eight points on 4-4 shooting, even though foul trouble limited him to just five minutes in the first half. Joey Van Zegeren played 25 minutes at the center spot for the ‘Cats, and grabbed seven rebounds while also providing much-needed rim protection.
The Wildcats will travel to Indiana on Saturday and take on the Hoosiers at 11 a.m.