Maryland captures elusive road win by taking down Northwestern 71-64

It was not pretty and the second half certainly wasn’t clean, but in the end the Maryland Terrapins pulled out their second road win of the season by taking down Northwestern 71-64.

With these two teams meeting just nine days ago, there was some familiarity when they stepped on the court Monday night. The Wildcats were coming off of a devastating loss to Michigan State in which they lead the Spartans by 27 but still managed to lose 65-60. Maryland, on the other hand, has enjoyed a decent amount of success in recent games while winning three of their last five.

The Terrapins shot over 50% from the field in Monday’s win over Northwestern but got a great deal of offensive production from some players who usually remain quiet. Michael Cekovsky has not started much since returning from injury but still provides the team with a nice boost off of the bench.

It’s not often that Maryland has an advantage under the basket but Cekovsky didn’t waste anytime using that to his benefit when he came off the bench in the first half. The 7-foot-6-inch senior dominated the rim with three dunks and four rebounds in the first half.

Dion Wiley also came through with one of his more flashy performances of the year. Mark Turgeon has given Wiley an opportunity to start a lot of games over the past few weeks but he has stuck to his role as a facilitator for the most part. On Monday, the junior from Oxon Hill dropped 13 while adding three rebounds and a pair of steals.

Kevin Huerter would finish with 18 points and four assists to lead the Maryland offense. He was also responsible for three of the Terrapins five three pointers in the game. It was interesting to see Maryland shy away from the deep shots especially in the first half when the Wildcats were flourishing from beyond the arc. Chris Collins’ team shot 15 three pointers in the first half and managed to sink eight of them to take a 37-30 lead at the break.

However, that previously mentioned height difference between each teams big men helped the Terps keep pace with Northwestern early and eventually pull away. I am also a little surprised with just how fast the Terps played at points, especially in the second half. With the regular season coming to a close, I would have guessed that most of the team would be drained from playing extended minutes all year. Instead, Maryland did a lot of their scoring in transition and appeared to fluster the Wildcats down the stretch.

Maryland’s 41 point second half was fun to watch mainly because of their consistency. There were no scoring droughts as the Terps spent the full 20 minuets battling to either get even or hold on to a slim lead. Just like their game against Rutgers on Saturday, Maryland did a good job of closing the game out with a lead as well. Northwestern started intentionally fouling a little earlier than expected and the Terrapins took advantage by going 6-6 from the line to put the game on ice.

This second road win has been a long time coming for the Terps. There have been a lot of close calls since they took down Illinois in overtime earlier this season but they could never quiet get it done. I was happy to see Maryland thrive away from home but I can’t help but think about Northwestern’s arena situation.

The Wildcats have been relocated to the Allstate Arena this season while their normal home gets renovated. This has resulted in a lack of home court advantage for Northwestern. Just look at this picture of their student section from tonight’s game. None the less, the Terps found a win outside of the Xfinity Center and that all that matters.

Maryland will honor their senior players this Saturday as Michigan makes a trip to College Park. Big wins have eluded the Terps all season but they will get one more crack at it as the Wolverines are currently sitting at No. 17 in the AP rankings.

Image credit: Jim Young / AP

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Strong second half leads Maryland past Minnesota 77-66

The Maryland Terrapins came into Thursday’s matchup desperately needing a win. The Terps had run into a rough patch over the last two weeks and dropped three of their last four games. The third and most recent loss came on Monday when Maryland couldn’t hold a late lead against Michigan and lost in a 68-67 heart-breaker.

On Thursday the Terps returned their comfortable home atmosphere to host Minnesota, another Big Ten team looking to make a name for themselves in the conference. Just like Maryland, the Golden Gophers have experienced some tough injuries and been labeled a disappointment. When the game started the two teams continued to look rather similar but the Terps would pull away in the second half and win 77-66.

Four Maryland players finished with double-digit scoring but the starting five was as solid as they have been all season in every facet of the game. Anthony Cowan is usually the driving force behind the teams scoring but the sophomore played a great all around game to help lift Maryland to a win. After going scoreless in the first half, Cowan finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and a career high 10 assists.

When you look at Minnesota’s night it’s almost crazy how they remained in the game in the first half. The Golden Gophers struggled to shoot over 30% from the field throughout Thursday’s contest but made enough from beyond the arc to stay in striking distance. Some great offensive rebounding and a surplus of Maryland turnovers also helped contribute to a slim 29-28 Maryland lead at the half.

The second half was an entirely different story. While Minnesota continued to struggle, Maryland came out of the gate strong by making 10 of their first 11 shots. Michael Cekovsky started to heat up during this span, racking up a quick ten points in the paint. The rest of the Maryland lineup consistently fed Cekovsky the ball and he continued to deliver with a handful of dunks that brought the crowd back to life. Cekovsky finished his night with 17 points and four blocks.

Thursday’s win also saw a return to form for Kevin Huerter. Unlike some recent games, the Terps didn’t have to wait around for the pale menace to show up. Huerter led the way right from the start, scoring 11 of his 19 points in the first half. The sophomore would also finish with eight rebounds and five assists to round out one of the best starts of his career.

Maryland will hit the road again on Monday to play Indiana at Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers are another team stuck in the middle of the Big Ten and will certainly pose a threat to a Maryland team that has struggled on the road.

Image Credit: Patrick Semansky / AP