Northwestern suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss against No. 7 Maryland on Tuesday night, as the ‘Cats fell 62-56 in College Park.
Northwestern’s intensity on both ends helped them hang with the Terps, as Rasheed Sulaimon, who torched NU in Evanston with 16 points earlier this season, was held without a field goal. The Wildcats also dominated the offensive glass, out-rebounding Maryland 17-3.
Sloppy play by the Terrapins in the first half allowed Northwestern to jump out to an early lead. Northwestern forced nine first half turnovers, while surrendering only five of their own.
Sanjay Lumpkin played an important role early for NU, grabbing 3 offensive boards in the first half. However, after Lumpkin left the game with his second foul, the Terps closed the half on a 14-5 run and jumped out to a 31-29 lead at the break.
The second half was a classic Big Ten defensive scrum. The teams scored a combined 36 points, and both struggled to find quality looks late. Maryland had a chance to down the ‘Cats at the buzzer in College Park for a second consecutive year, but Melo Trimble came up short on his 3-point attempt.
Northwestern’s offensive struggles continued in overtime. The team took a major hit when Aaron Falzon picked fouled out in the extra period, as he ended his night with 13 points and four rebounds.
Trimble proved to be the difference in OT, scoring or assisting on eight of the Terps’ 12 overtime points. Bryant McIntosh and Tre Demps both struggled after halftime, as they combined to go 4-19 from the field with four turnovers.
Dererk Pardon showed flashes of brilliance for Northwestern, scoring 11 points on 5-6 shooting. Despite his impressive numbers, Chris Collins gave the nod to Joey van Zegeren to end the game. Van Zegeren finished the night with five points and seven rebounds, five of which came on the offensive glass.
The Wildcats may have missed their best opportunity to knock off a ranked opponent this season. However, they will have a chance to redeem themselves in their next three games, when they play No. 25 Indiana, return home against No. 11 Michigan State and face No. 9 Iowa on the road.
Northwestern will face the Hoosiers on Saturday at 11 a.m. Central, a game that can be seen on ESPNU.