On Wednesday the Maryland Terrapins picked up what could be their best win of the season when they defeated Northwestern 74-64.
Coming into Wednesday, the Wildcats certainly had the most to gain. On Saturday they defeated a top ten Wisconsin team and they had another opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent. Their offense got started with an emphatic dunk, bringing the crowd to an early crescendo, but the Terps responded with a quick 9-0 run to take control of the game.
Northwestern’s troubles didn’t stop there when star point guard, Brian McIntosh, found himself on the bench with two fouls in the game’s first three minutes. With the Wildcats struggling to get any offense going, there were plenty of opportunities for Maryland to take advantage. Northwestern was taking terrible shots, and when they did get an easy layup opportunity, they missed.
Playing on the road against Northwestern, a lead of any size is a great thing but the Terps were able to gain an 10-point lead by the end of the half. Maryland took advantage of the Wildcats’ sloppy play and were able to find an effective pace. Every Terrapin rebound was instantly passed towards midcourt where Trimble or Cowan would be waiting to run with it. Northwestern was unable to adjust to this fast pace and simply didn’t have the offense to keep things close.
Early in the second half, the Wildcats came through with a much better offensive attack. Maryland was able to keep their double digit lead by taking smarter shots and switching up the pace. When the Wildcats started to come to life, you could sense that they wanted to run like Maryland did in the first half. However, the Terps continued to dictate the pace and slow things down as Northwestern attempted to come back.
With a little over 10 minutes remaining, the Terps stomped on the gas peddle and extended their lead to 20. Northwestern would not go out quietly though. The Wildcats clawed their way back and made it a nine point game with two minutes to play. This brought the crowd back into the game but it was too little too late as Maryland went to the free throw line and closed out an impressive 74-64 victory.
There were plenty of impressive stats to look at after this win but you gotta give it up for Melo Trimble. This is the type of game where you look to your older players to lead the way. In a hostile environment at a crucial point in the season, Trimble did just that. The junior finished the game with a career high 32 points and shot 4-5 from beyond the arc.
Coming into this week we knew that Maryland was going to be playing two of their toughest games of the season. Realistically, I thought they would lose both games but tonight’s win has given me a more optimistic view on the Terps’ future. Sunday’s matchup against Wisconsin is sure to be a great one and will have major implications on the Big Ten standings.