clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maryland-Northwestern final score: 3 things we learned from the Terps' stunning win

The Terps pulled off a shocking comeback to beat Northwestern, 68-67.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the opener we were prepared to publish at 9:38 p.m. Sunday night:

Northwestern shocked the No. 13 Maryland men's basketball team on Sunday night, taking a lead on the game's first possession and holding it from wire to wire before a crowd of 14,113 at XFINITY Center.

Not quite. Trailing by 11 points with under four minutes on the clock, Maryland (18-3, 6-2 Big Ten) mounted a stunning comeback to take a one-point lead against visiting Northwestern with seconds to play, lose it, then gain it back for good with 1.6 seconds on the clock on a Dez Wells put-back of a Melo Trimble missed three-pointer.

What had looked like a devastating loss turned into one of Maryland's most thrilling wins in years, 68-67.

Melo Trimble scored 27 points on 8-of-18 shooting, including a series of late baskets and free throws that catalyzed Maryland's comeback from 11 points down with fewer than four minutes to play. Wells rebounded from two early charging calls to score 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including the game-clinching put-back before time expired. Jake Layman, Maryland's quietest star, scored 8 points, but three came on a critical shot amid Maryland's late run.

Bryant McIntosh scored 21 points for Northwestern, which shot 58.3 percent on three-pointers in the first half before cooling from the field late. Sanjay Lumpkin hit three long-balls for the Wildcats en route to his 12 points, which – for a while – appeared to be enough to hold Maryland back.

The defensive nightmare Maryland lived through against Indiana last week reoccurred in the first half. Northwestern drained six of its first nine three-point attempts, a figure that rose to 7-of-12 before the half ended. The Wildcats shot unconsciously, but they also generated a series of open lay-ups by finding open cutters underneath the basket whom Maryland failed to follow. The Wildcats shot a cumulative 70 percent from the field in the half, an outburst based as much on teamwork as good fortune. Of their 16 made shots in the half, assists led to 12. Maryland shot just 42 percent from the field and assisted five times on 10 first-half baskets. By the buzzer, the Terps trailed by 11 points.

The Terps opened the second half on a 5-0 run, but a spate of missed jumpers and turnovers allowed the Wildcats to pop back to a 14-point edge only three minutes later. For most of the half, Maryland could make only incremental dents.

Then came the Terrapins' theatrics. Read along closely to get the full sense of how winding the comeback was:

Maryland trailed by 11 points with 3:52 remaining, after Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh hit an arching jumper to make the score 63-52. Melo Trimble answered with a three-point play on a lay-in, then Wells scored after an offensive rebound to make it a six-point game, 63-57, with 2:38 remaining. After a stop and a Jake Layman steal, another Wells score in transition made it 63-59 with two minutes to play. After a Jershon Cobb basket gave Northwestern a six-point lead, Layman hit a three-pointer to cut the lead to three with 1:05 left.

After Northwestern's Tre Demps narrowly missed a lay-up, Trimble finished his own on the other end, slashing the lead to a point with 30 seconds on the clock. Trimble didn't intend to, but he fouled McIntosh on the ensuing inbound, sending his freshman counterpart to the line for a one-and-one try. McIntosh missed, and a transitioning Trimble drew a foul on the other end of the court, down a point. Trimble hit both his foul shots, staking Maryland to its first lead of the game – by just a point – with 20 seconds to play.

Demps hit a brilliant fall-away to restore Northwestern's lead with eight seconds left. Trimble tried to answer with a three-pointer, and he missed it. But Wells muscled into the paint, skied for the rebound and nudged it through the rim, placing Maryland ahead with less than two seconds to play. The Terrapins had finally – and thoroughly – broken through.

The Terps moved into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten with the win.

Three things we learned

1. Perimeter defense was a problem early. Maryland has been one of the better teams in the country at defending the three-point shot this season. Even after Indiana clicked at 70 percent against them on Thursday, the Terps entered Sunday night allowing the three-pointer at a 29.8 percent clip – the 29th-best mark in all of college basketball. The Hoosiers are a good three-point shooting team all the time, so one night doesn't have to mean a lot. But Northwestern is the definition of an average three-point team, shooting 33.9 percent against a 34 percent national average coming into the game. Maryland proceeded to let the Wildcats shoot the lights out to a 58 percent clip in the first half, though they only wound up 8-of-20 overall.

2. Maryland's best delivered late. With the Terps unable to get close late in the game, Jake Layman hit a three-pointer that started the Terps' late charge in earnest. Trimble hit two late foul shots to give the Terps a one-point lead, then Wells scored before the buzzer on a put-back to win it. Together, Trimble and Wells combined for 44 of the Terps' 68 points – an impressive, late-game rebound from the hardship each endured at Assembly Hall in the team's previous game. In the game's last 10 minutes, Maryland scored 22 points. Trimble, Wells and Layman scored every one of them.

3. That was the most shocking comeback Maryland's had since, what? This was a simply stunning turnaround. Maryland's win probability with 3:52 left was roughly a rounding error. The Terps fell behind on the game's first possession and trailed for almost 40 full minutes before Trimble's lead-taking free throws, Demps's apparent counter-dagger and Dez's ultimate heroics. Was it the most surprising leap from the abyss Maryland's ever had? That question is for minds who have been here longer than me. But it isn't a bad candidate.