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Maryland men’s basketball avoids major collapse, defeats Northwestern, 94-87

The Terps surrendered the lead in regulation but won the game in the second overtime period.

Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics

After 45 minutes of basketball, Maryland men’s basketball and Northwestern entered a second overtime period with the game tied at 83 points apiece.

The Terps got out to a quick start after winning the jump ball as guard Fatts Russell put the ball up near the basket setting guard Xavier Green up for the alley-oop. Northwestern responded to tie the game but after that, the Terps went on a run and never trailed.

A jumper from guard Hakim Hart along with a jumper and a free throw from Russell gave the Terps a five-point lead. Although Northwestern cut the lead to as few as three, Maryland continued to build on its momentum, drawing fouls and ultimately, holding on to the lead.

It took two overtimes to do it but Maryland men’s basketball found a way to secure the 94-87 victory to split the season series and pick up its first conference win of the season.

“Complete team effort,” interim head coach Danny Manning said. “Very happy for our guys, because they’ve continued to battle and tonight were able to stay the course and come away with a win.”

Northwestern secured the win the first time these two teams met earlier this season. Coming into this matchup, the Terps and the Wildcats were experiencing a three-game losing streak.

To start this one, both teams missed their first two baskets but Maryland got out to a slow start which has become a theme. The Terps were down 8-2 early on.

A three from guard Hakim Hart closed the lead slightly headed into the first media timeout. However, after that, it took Maryland another three and a half minutes to score a basket while they turned the ball over three times in that same stretch.

Northwestern was struggling to shoot as well, in the midst of a scoring drought as well. Since responding to Hart’s three, they missed four consecutive field goals and failed to get a basket until over three minutes later.

With a little over 11 minutes to go in the first half, both teams were shooting 27% from the field with the Wildcats holding the 10-7 struggling to hit their shots.

For the next few minutes, both teams continued to struggle to find their stride. Freshman forward Julian Reese and Hart each added another basket for the Terps but still could not find a way to take the lead.

With eight minutes remaining in the first half, the Terps had not scored in over two minutes, leading to a 17-11 lead in favor of the Wildcats.

However, the Terps started to pick things up.

Out of the media timeout, Ayala had his third three-point shot attempt of the game. Not only did he sink this shot from deep, but also picked up the foul and sank the free throw.

With about five minutes to go, the Terps were on a 7-0 run and had their first lead of the game. It was short-lived with the Wildcats tying the game up at 21 but this time, Maryland kept it close.

Although Northwestern had a one-point lead with three and a half minutes to go, the Terps hit four of their last five shots of the field and were shooting 41% from the field compared to the Wildcats’ 38%.

Ayala, who went into the half with 10 points, hit his second three of the day to tip the score 27-26 in Maryland’s favor with two and a half minutes to play. The teams continued to trade baskets in the final seconds of the first frame and went into the locker room at halftime tied at 30 points apiece.

At that point, Ayala and Hart led the Terps with 10 points each while Northwestern had no scorers hit the 10-point mark before halftime.

The teams traded baskets out of the break and with about 17 minutes remaining, guard Fatts Russell hit his first three of the day to give the Terps their biggest lead of the game at that point — three points.

Although Northwestern made it a one-point play on their next possession, forward Donta Scott hit another three for the Terps. Once again, Maryland struggled to find the momentum to pull away as it traded baskets with the Wildcats.

But, with about 14 minutes to go, Northwestern called a timeout as the Terps were on a 6-0 run. Russell got things going for Maryland with a long three followed by a layup from Hart to put the Terps up by four points.

Northwestern snapped Maryland's run with a pair of free throws and kept it going, once again tying the game, this time at 46 points apiece. Reese fouled Northwestern’s Elyjah William’s on his way up and although he missed the free through, the Wildcats grabbed the rebound and put it back up for two to take the 48-46 lead. The 6-0 run forced Maryland to call a timeout before things started to spiral.

The Terps did not let the Wildcats pull away and found another lead, 50-48, but with nine and a half minutes remaining, after neither team had scored for a while, Northwestern snapped their drought with a three and took the lead by one.

However, Ayala had six straight points to regain the lead. But, as the nature of the game had been all night, this game remained close with teams exchanging the lead.

“All of our other games was kind of like this, but we just fell short,” Russell said. “But today I felt we fought all the way to the end.”

With about four minutes remaining, Ayala hit his fifth three of the day to give Maryland a four-point lead but Northwestern cut it on its next possession. But, shortly after, Ayala did it again sinking a layup and getting fouled on the way up. Although he missed the shot from the charity stripe, Ayala held the 66-62 advantage with three minutes remaining.

Northwestern picked up a couple of free throws but Scott hit another jumper to give Maryland the six-point lead. Northwestern took it right down the court and put two points on the board before quickly calling a timeout with a minute and a half remaining.

In the final 15 seconds of the game, Northwestern went on a 6-0 run.

The Wildcats hit a three to bring the game within three and seconds later, Scott picked up a flagrant foul and Northwestern’s Robbie Beran hit two free throws from that.

Northwestern had the ball back under their basket and with 11 seconds remaining, Scott fouled out of the game sending Nance to the line. Nance tied the game at 72 apiece but missed the second shot sending the game into overtime.

With two minutes remaining in overtime in the midst of a tight battle, Northwestern held a 79-75 lead over Maryland men’s basketball as Ayala drove in for a basket to cut the deficit. On his way up, Northwestern’s Chase Audige fouled him, fouling out of the game and sending Ayala to the line.

Ayala sank both shots, securing his career-high performance picking up his 25th and 26th points of the night but Northwestern answered right back with another jumper.

The two teams traded baskets the rest of the first overtime period, leaving the score tied at 83 with three seconds to go. Northwestern had the ball and chance to win it but could not get a shot off, giving Russell one more opportunity at the basket. He heaved a half-court shot that rimmed in and out, sending the game to a second overtime period.

In the second overtime, Maryland never trailed and walked away with the victory.

“I just was trying to tell the team you know this is where we got to make that next step... turn that corner,” Ayala said. “So I definitely think we took the next step today, and, you know, heading towards the right direction.”

Three things to know

1. Ayala, Hart and Scott lead by example. Ayala had another huge night for Terps scoring a career-high 26 points. For seven straight games now, Ayala has had 16 or more points. This game also marks the third time in that span he exceeded the 20-point mark. Ayala also recorded his first double-double with 11 rebounds. Hart also had a strong performance with 18 points and two steals. In any game that Hart has had two or more steals, the Terps have won.

“We need that, we need that,” Ayala said of Hart’s consistency. “Especially now that we are about to get in the middle of league play and you know, we need more consistency out of everybody.”

He’s now scored 10-plus points in eight straight. Scott is another player who has found his stride with this game marking his seventh straight game putting up 10 or more points. Although he fouled out in regulation and picked up the flagrant, he finished the day with 17 points.

2. Qudus Wahab and Julian Reese struggled to find their momentum. Although he picked up zero fouls against then-No. 23 Wisconsin, Wahab had just four points and one game prior against Illinois, he fouled out and had zero points in 10 minutes. Reese has had foul trouble himself as of late and it continued against the Wildcats. Against Brown, Reese picked up five fouls, against Iowa he had four and against Illinois, he fouled out again. When the team faced the Badgers, he had just two fouls but also had just two points.

Wahab played 25 minutes against the Wildcats, recorded four points while shooting 1-for-4 from the field, had five rebounds and two fouls. Reese played for 12 minutes, had two points, two boards and four fouls with over half the second frame remaining. He fouled out with a little under three minutes to go.

3. Maryland clinched its first conference win under Danny Manning. After dropping the first four conference games of the season, the Terps picked up Big Ten win No. 1 against the Wildcats. The win marked Manning’s first win in conference play and also the first win for the Terps in three games. Maryland had previously lost games to Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, but its win in the rematch against Northwestern is a step in the right direction despite the late collapse. The Terps will look to build off its win with an upcoming matchup against Rutgers, which will come on Saturday afternoon.