Northwestern Shocks Maryland with Second-Straight Win
By Ryan Choe
An unlikely team emerged victorious from Wednesday night’s collision course in Welsh-Ryan Arena. Heading into the matchup, Maryland boasted a five-game win streak while Northwestern recently snapped its 13-game slide. The result would be anything but clear until the final buzzer in the tightly-contested game. In the end, the Wildcats scored the final six points to defeat the Terrapins 60-55 for the first time at home and just the second time ever.
Sitting at 7-14 before Wednesday’s contest, the Wildcats were jockeying with Nebraska to not rank last in the Big Ten. It would be a tall ask against a surging Terrapins squad and it was hardly an ideal start. The ‘Cats fell into a 9-0 deficit within the first few minutes of the game and it looked as if their winning streak would end at a single game.
“I thought the beginning part of the game… we were a little bit taken aback and they jumped on us,” said Head Coach Chris Collins. “After the first four minutes I thought we settled in. The three-point shooting in the first half was the equalizer.”
The ‘Cats generally excelled from downtown, shooting 10-of-29 on the night and 8-of-19 in the first half, with the exception of forward Miller Kopp who went 0-of-8. Guard Boo Buie led the ‘Cats with 15 points, guard Chase Audige added 14 and forward Pete Nance finished with 12. Each of them converted 40% of their three-point attempts on a combined 9-of-16. This scoring was much needed as Northwestern struggled to slow down Maryland guard Aaron Wiggins, who led all scorers with a career-high 26 points.
Northwestern led 28-26 at halftime with the ‘Cats struggling to consistently find the net and the Terrapins unable to find many shooting opportunities. Multiple travel violations and errant passes contributed to 15 team turnovers and were ultimately Maryland’s downfall. However, Maryland never fell too far behind despite numerous self-inflicted mistakes. Northwestern had multiple six-point leads at different periods of the game, and led 48-43 with 6:30 left in the game. But less than three minutes later, Maryland seized the lead after a quick three-pointer, layup and trip to the charity stripe.
With 1:50 left, Maryland led 55-54 and the Wildcats’ scoring had slowed. That’s when center Ryan Young became the unsung hero of the game. After snagging multiple defensive rebounds throughout the game, Young made a driving layup to give Northwestern a one-point lead with 90 seconds left. A missed three-point attempt by Maryland led to another defensive rebound by Young, and he sank a pair of clutch free throws on the other end.
Maryland missed the game-tying three and Buie sealed the win with two more free throws.
“The last four minutes I couldn’t have been prouder,” Collins said. “We had such great positive, strong, winning talk in that huddle.”
Northwestern will wrap up its regular season Sunday at home against Nebraska with hopes to finish the regular season on a winning streak.