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Maryland Outlast Northwestern in Big Ten Matchup

Pete Nance records double-double but Eric Ayala and the Terrapins find a way to hand the Wildcats a fourth straight loss.

The Northwestern Wildcats fell to the Maryland Terrapins 94–87 in a conference game that required two overtimes to declare a winner.

Junior forward Robbie Beran started off the game with a three-pointer and junior guard Boo Buie copied him moments later, which helped lead the Wildcats to an 8–2 run. Shooting struggles followed this for a bit, which helped Maryland climb back to a 10–7 deficit. The teams traded points for much of the half and the Terrapins were eventually able to establish a lead and take momentum from the Wildcats. 

Northwestern never fell behind by more than a basket, but it looked like the Terrapins would be able to take a slight 30–28 lead entering the second half, but a rebound from Ryan Greer, with 23 seconds remaining in the half, gave the Wildcats a chance to tie the game before the break. This goal was achieved via a layup from Beran and the teams were knotted at 30 at the end of the half.

Sloppy shooting summarized the first half, with the Terrapins going 11-30 and 4-13 from three, while the Wildcats were 12-33 and 3-12 from three. Buie and Beran split leading scorer duties for Northwestern with seven each in the half, while junior guard Hakim Hart lead the way for Maryland with 10 points

The Wildcats struck first in the second half off of a layup from senior forward Pete Nance but Maryland kept pace and the teams traded points until there was 7:40 left in the game and took a 56–51 lead. Nance did not let that deficit stay for a while with a quick three to cut the lead to two, and this led to the teams once again trading leads before the Terrapins took a six point lead with 2:12 remaining. Nance put the Wildcats back within four after two free throws, but a jump shot from junior forward Donta Scott re-established the six point lead. A basket from senior guard Ryan Greer cut the deficit once again.

Misses from both teams followed, but a layup from Hart re-established the six point lead once again with just 29.8 seconds remaining in the game. A Nance three pointer with 14 seconds left put the score within three, and a great defensive play from junior guard Chase Audige led to a Northwestern offensive zone inbound with seconds left. A review followed that ended up in a flagrant foul being called against the Terrapins that gave Robbie Beran two free throws and then a Wildcat possession. Beran converted both shots, and an inbound pass to Nance resulted in another Terrapin foul and gave the Wildcats a chance to take a lead. Nance hit one free throw, tying up the game. Terrapins senior guard Eric Ayala chucked up a three pointer at the buzzer that did not fall, which resulted in the two teams heading to overtime with a 72–72 score.

Northwestern jumped out to a quick 77–73 lead in the early stages of overtime. The teams went back and forth for much of the extra period but the Wildcats maintained a lead up until there was just over 30 seconds left and the Terrapins tied the score at 83. This would be the extent of the scoring in the overtime and the game headed to a second extra period.

The teams traded points to start the second overtime, but Maryland jumped out to an 89–85 lead with three minutes remaining. Neither team was able to score for the next two minutes but the Terrapins dominated the rim and were able to keep possession of the ball and let the clock bleed down. This forced the Wildcats to begin fouling and this led to a free throw from graduate student guard Fatts Russell that increased the lead to five. Nance responded with a field goal that cut the lead back to three. Another foul sent Russell to the free throw line once again and he made both this time, giving the Terrapins a 92–87 lead. Two additional Wildcat fouls led to two Terrapin points and this would be the extent of the scoring for the game. 

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Maryland emerged victorious with a 94–87 victory, which was also their largest lead of the game. Nance led all scorers with 28 points, while Ayala trailed just behind him with 26. Scott contributed 23 for the Terrapins and Beran added 19 for the Wildcats.

The Wildcats fell to 8–6 on the season and 1–4 in the Big 10. The Terrapins are now 9–7 and 1–4 in the Big 10. Below are some takeaways from the game.

Shooting Struggles

Neither team was terrific from the field but the Wildcats will be disappointed with their showing. Northwestern shot 33-84 and 7-28 from three, but did have a solid day at the free throw line as they hit 14-18 attempts. This was a trend throughout the game and was not linked to any specific player. 

Inability to Convert in the Clutch

It is hard to say this after the Wildcats went on a 6–0 run to tie the game up in 10 seconds at the end of regulation but it is still notable for the game. Even in the miraculous run there was an opportunity for the Wildcats to take the lead but a free throw was not converted. Another key instance was a strange inbound pass at the end of the first overtime that was a non-starter for the Northwestern offense. Missing opportunities here were unfortunate for the Wildcats.

Foul Trouble

Chase Audige, Robbie Beran and Ryan Greer fouled out in the contest, and Boo Buie nearly fouled out. This impacted not only who was on the court at the end of the game but also how these players played defense in the waning minutes of the game. While it is understandable that this situation would arise in a double overtime game, it really did cost the Wildcats in the end.

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