Maryland basketball played one of its most complete games of the season Saturday afternoon, cruising to a 73-57 home win over Northwestern.
The Terps led for the entire game, with their lead in double digits more often than not. They impressed on both ends of the floor, shooting 53 percent as a team and holding the Wildcats to just 33 percent.
Kevin Huerter tallied a game-high 22 points, including 16 in the first half, and added four rebounds and five assists. Fellow sophomore Anthony Cowan tossed up a 15-7-4 stat line, while Darryl Morsell and Dion Wiley chipped in 14 and 10 points, respectively. Northwestern received a 20-point contribution from Scottie Lindsey, but his teammates couldn’t pick up the slack.
Michal Cekovsky returned for the Terps after missing three games with a heel injury, and while he only provided four points and didn’t secure any rebounds, Maryland took advantage of the extra depth. The Terps won 32-31 on the glass, even with Northwestern securing 13 offensive boards.
Maryland came out firing, sinking seven of its first eight shots as a team to take a 19-8 lead early on. Huerter was the catalyst, racking up 12 points in the first 4:32. The Terps’ lead remained in double figures for most of the first half, and they were doubling up Northwestern at 32-16 with under six minutes until the break. The Wildcats responded with an 8-0 run to slice the margin in half, then trimmed it as low as five points on a circus 30-footer by Lindsey. But Huerter’s bank shot on Maryland’s last possession of the half gave his team a 36-29 advantage at the intermission.
The Terps shot 52 percent to Northwestern’s 35 percent in the opening frame, but a 6-0 difference in offensive rebounds gave the Wildcats enough chances to keep it close. Lindsey had 15 points at halftime, topped only by Huerter’s 16.
For the first time in far too long, Maryland went on the first run of the second half, scoring seven unanswered points in 2:33 to double the lead and force a Wildcats timeout. Northwestern heated up from downtown to keep the game within reach through the 12-minute mark. But Maryland slowly pulled away, going on a 12-1 run and holding the Wildcats without a field goal from the 9:58 mark to 3:13 remaining. Morsell’s putback with 3:45 remaining brought the lead over 20 points for the first time all day, and the Terps cruised from there.
Maryland faces a crucial road game Tuesday at Nebraska; it’s still looking for its first win away from home since Dec. 3.
Three things to know
1. Maryland stayed hot from long range. After draining 9 of 17 three-pointers in Wednesday’s narrow loss to Penn State, the Terps went 9-of-21 on Saturday. They knocked down 7 of 14 deep balls in the first half, and even with the slowdown in the last 20 minutes, they shot 43 percent for the afternoon.
2. Offensive rebounds are still a problem. Maryland has now lost this category in five straight games, giving up 63 offensive boards and pulling down just 34 during that stretch. Even with Cekovsky back in the fold, the Terps faced a 14-7 deficit on the offensive glass, and it took a pretty significant shooting disparity for that not to haunt them.
3. The Terps are still a different animal at home. Maryland’s inability to win on the road still appears likely to keep it out of the NCAA Tournament, but the home-court advantage at Xfinity Center has been on display all season. The Terps are now 14-2 at home, with the only losses coming in nail-biters to Purdue and Michigan State—two top-five teams. At the very least, earning a road win or two down the stretch would significantly help Maryland’s positioning for the Big Ten Tournament in three weeks.