Maryland guard Dez Wells converted a putback with less than two seconds remaining to beat Northwestern, 68-67, on Sunday night. The shot capped a furious rally for the Terrapins, who would have suffered consecutive losses for the first time this season following Thursday’s defeat at Indiana.
Northwestern looked on the verge of securing a signature victory when guard Bryant McIntosh hit a jumper around the 3:50 mark to give the Wildcats an 11-point lead. But Maryland ripped off a 7-0 run over the next two minutes.
After the Wildcats called a timeout with 51 seconds remaining, senior Tre Demps missed a jump shot and Terrapins freshman Melo Trimble narrowed the deficit to one by scoring a layup, then drawing a foul on Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh and hitting both free throws.
Still, the Wildcats looked to be in position to pull the upset when Demps drilled a jumper over Wells with just 13 seconds to play. That bucket set up the sequence leading to Wells’ game-winning putback.
Terrapins forward Jake Layman inbounded the ball to Trimble, who dribbled up court. He approached McIntosh near the three-point line and pulled up for a three. After the ball left Trimble’s hand, Wells darted at the rim, maneuvered past JerShon Cobb and established good position in front of the restricted area.
The ball bounded off the back of the rim and Wells elevated before retrieving it with one hand and tossing the ball off the glass and in with 1.4 seconds remaining for a one-point lead. After the shot went down, Wells and his teammates celebrated prematurely on the court, and Northwestern didn’t get a shot off before the game ended.
Well’s game winner completed a stunning collapse for a Northwestern team that has now lost six consecutive games, four or which have come by five points or fewer and one that went to overtime. The Wildcats are well off the pace for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid, but the string of close losses is tough for a young group trying to make progress under second-year coach Chris Collins.
The win, which came on the same day the No. 23 Hoosiers fell at Ohio State, moves Maryland into second place in the Big Ten standings. Trimble scored a game-high 27 points on 8-of-18 shooting and connected on nine of his 10 free throw attempts, while Wells notched 17 points including the biggest bucket of the evening.
The Terrapins play at the Buckeyes on Thursday, and Northwestern will host Purdue on Saturday.