COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The Terrapins went ahead for good when Melo Trimble fed Diamond Stone with a no-look pass, Maryland escaping with a 62-56 overtime win over Northwestern at Xfinity Center Jan. 19.
Heck, no one wanted to look. The last 10 minutes or so of this game set offense back to peach bucket days. The No. 5 Terrapins squandered several opportunities to put away the Wildcats and the Wildcats missed chances to pull the upset.
Maryland (17-2, 6-1) outscored Northwestern 14-8 in the overtime but the two teams combined for just four points the final 4:39 of regulation, and the Terrapins had just 17 second-half points before the overtime. Maybe this kind of win says more about Maryland, though, than the 100-65 pasting of Ohio State Jan. 16. The Terrapins had 48 points in the first half of that one, the same total they had at the end of regulation Jan. 19.
“I think this team and last year’s team, when it comes down to a one-point game or a two-point game, we always feel like we’re going to come up with the win,” said Jake Layman, who had his coach lauding his defense after the four-point win. “I think we trust our defense enough to get stops when we need to, and on offense, we’ve got so many weapons, I think whenever we need a bucket we can always get one.”
Well, not late in regulation but all’s well that end’s well, right Rober Carter, Jr.? “We have confidence that we can always win at home. We have to give them credit with that (match-up zone). It’s a tough one. It’s hard to read. We figured it out at the end and we got the victory.”
It was 55-55, the last of five ties, when Trimble penetrated and found Stone for a three-point play that made it 58-55 at 1:13 of the extra period. Tre Demps missed at the other end, Rasheed Sulaimon all over him. Big Joey Van Zegeren stole the rebound – a theme on the night as Northwestern enjoyed a 41-31 rebounding advantage – and he hit one of two free throws.
Stone, who got five of his 11 points in the OT, went hard to the basket, picked up a foul and hit both shots to make it 60-56 with 31.3 seconds left. Fouls limited the big freshman to just 15 minutes.
Carter got a big defensive board, one of his game-high 14 rebounds, and hit two free throws at 14.7 seconds. Four of Carter’s 10 points came in overtime, including a layup from Trimble, who led everyone with 18 points and six assists after missing a potential game-winner at the end of regulation. Carter also had three blocked shots in 38 quality minutes.
“I was really proud of our team tonight,” said coach Mark Turgeon. “I thought Northwestern was the tougher team most of the night. They were ready to play. You can tell by the first couple of possessions. We weren’t rebounding. We gave up 18 points off turnovers and second chance points in the in the first half. Some nights things don’t go well and you have to figure out ways to win.”
The Terrapins shot 31.8 percent in the second half but could win by holding Northwestern, a team they beat 72-59 on Jan. 2, to 29.6 percent, and just 3-for-9 in the overtime.
“Credit Maryland’s defense,” said NU coach and former Duke nemesis Chris Collins. “It was hard to get really good looks.”
“We guarded as good as we guarded this year sometimes in this game,” said Carter. “We went over their stuff and scouted them hard. We knew what was coming and they ran a bunch of counters and we just kept to our defensive principles and we guarded them. It was one of those defensive games. It probably wasn’t exciting for the fans, not a lot of dunking and three-point shooting.”
In the overtime, rather than settle for the jumpers they had much of the night, the Terrapins started going stronger to the basket, to the delight of the 17,144 on hand.
Maryland would finish 16-of-19 at the line, compared to 5-of-12 for Northwestern. Trimble was just 1-of-1 at the line but his drives created opportunities for his teammates.
“”We didn’t have a great offensive rhythm, we didn’t have a lot of answers,” said Turgeon. “We just tried to spread the floor. We got a couple of good looks. We were driving to get to the foul line and couldn’t get there.”
Northwestern (15-5, 3-4) made it tough on the Terps with great play around the basket. They had 16 offensive rebounds to account for 16 second chance points, and that helped the Wildcats to slow the Terrapins to a crawl much of the night. So did a polymorphous zone that gave all kind of different looks and threw Trimble out of his rhythm.
“Their matchup zone was tough,” said Trimble. “They’re a tough team. But we’ve got heart and we’re not afraid to take shots. And our defense at the end of the game was tremendous.
The Wildcats, who were 4-0 on the road coming in, took their first lead of the second half at 8:26, Aaron Falzon driving for a short bank shot to make it 43-41, the culmination of a 12-2 Northwestern run. Falzone led the Wildcats with 13 points before fouling out early in the overtime.
Trimble tied it up but Demps, who was 3-of-14 from the field against Sulaimon, hit a jumper, and then Sanjay Lumpkin followed up on a fastbreak, scooping up a shot Layman had blocked and scoring to make it 47-43 at 5:36.
Turgeon called timeout and Trimble drove to the hoop, and scored on a tough reverse. Carter got a blocked shot but Trimble was forced into a miss on the break. A hustling Sulaimon came up with the rebound and fed a wide-open Layman up top for a three-pointer to make it 48-47 with 4:40 to play. Layman had eight points, seven rebounds, three blocks and three steals.
Sulaimon was 0-of-4, but had two big free throws in overtime, for his only points.
First, though, Sulaimon missed two free throws at 2:56, the beginning of a comedy of errors for both teams . Trimble fouled Bryant McIntosh with 2:35 left, but the pesky point guard could hit just one of two to tie the score.
The Terps got a shot clock violation when Carter couldn’t get up a shot off an inbound play for him with 2 seconds on the clock after a timeout. McIntosh dribbled the ball off his leg out of bounds. Jared Nickens missed a three and Layman had the rebounds slip out of his hands out of bounds.
Trimble stole the ball back from Van Zegeren in the corner at the other end, and then after a timeout at 16.7 seconds, he ran the clock down and left a long jumper from the top of the key short. No one could corral the rebound as the buzzer sounded to send the game into overtime.
“I jumped him pretty good,” said Turgeon of what he said going to the overtime. “All night we settled for jump-shots. We ran a little bit different look, I was hoping Melo could attack the 5-man, but he couldn’t. In the overtime, he drove and got to the rim and got baskets for Robert and Diamond, and he was terrific.”
“He told me to go to the basket next time,” said Trimble. “Actually, he said a lot of things.”
All told, no one scored in the last 2:35, and no one had a field goal in the last 4:40. The game was tied at 48. Against Ohio State, the Terps scored 48 in the first half, and then had 52 in the second half.
Turgeon lauded Trimble’s defense, too, the sophomore holding McIntosh to 5-of-18 shooting and forcing five turnovers. Defense was the key in winning despite a season-low 62 points.
Maryland held the Wildcats to just one field goal over the first five-and-a-half minutes of the second half. Carter scored on a short turnaround and Trimble hit a pull-up to make it 35-29, before Dererk Pardon hit a hook. Then it was Stone getting two free throws and Trimble scoring on a drive after a great steal by Carter and Stone, moving unlike they did early in the game. Maryland had a 39-31 lead with 14:39 left.
But after a timeout, Northwestern got a baseline three from Falzon, and the Wildcats ran off seven straight points and pulled within 39-38 at 10:40 on a drive by McIntosh. It was nip and tuck the rest of the way.
“We found out last year that every game in the Big Ten is going to be tough,” said Trimble. “It all comes down to trusting each other. All of my teammates believe in each other. They believe in me to bring us home.”
Maryland led 31-29 at the half, getting outrebounded 17-13, and giving up nine turnovers in a sluggish early effort. Trailing by six with 4:35 remaining, though, the Terrapins shifted into gear. Damonte Dodd got a stickback when Trimble missed on a drive that broke down the defense. Then Nickens got a big three-point play to pull Maryland within one for the second time in the half.
When Trimble hit a 3-pointer at 1:45, the Terrapins had their first lead at 1:45, 29-27. Northwestern had its way much of the first half, particularly on the inside – Pardon was 4-for-4 for 8 points before sitting down with two fouls – and Maryland despite shooting 11 of 21, hadn’t done much right. But the Wildcats’ dilemma against the talented Terps was magnified when Gavin Skelly dropped of Trimble, giving him just enough room to nail the go-ahead three.
The Wildcats were going to have to play a near-flawless game to knock off the talented Terps unless Maryland was complicit. They didn’t always play well, but they found a way.
“We were tough enough to win the game, that’s all that matters,” said Turgeon.
Layman got a steal and two free throws and then Dodd missed a contested dunk, before McIntosh ended the 8-0 first half run with a tough driving lay-up at 32.6 seconds.
Maryland fell behind 8-3 out of the gates, as Falzon and McIntosh knocked down early threes. Northwestern was up 16-9 at 12:30, when Pardon scored inside.
Nickens, who gave Maryland a much-needed offensive lift, hit a three, and then Stone hit a short jumper to make it 16-14 at 11:04. Layman hit a three at 10:30 to pull Maryland within 18-17
The Wildcats pushed their lead back to seven at 24-17, reeling off six straight points on threes from Scottie Lindsey and Falzon. Falzon’s was a second chance bucket, an early bugaboo, Northwestern with a 10-2 edge in that category in the first half.
Dodd, playing hard inside, had seven points, just his second time over three points in the last 11 games. His 22 minutes were a season-high. Nickens finished with six points.
It was maybe just the kind of grind-it-out, gut-check the Terrapins needed before traveling to Michigan State Jan. 23. The Spartans will also test Maryland on the glass.
“We just didn’t finish possessions with rebounds,” said Turgeon. “Hopefully that will be easy for us to fix.”