The No. 3-seed Maryland Terrapins fell to the No. 6-seed Northwestern Wildcats 72-64 in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals due to a blistering offensive performance from the Wildcats in the second-half.
How It Happened: It was a tail of two halves in the paint. The Terrapins held a 20-6 advantage in first-half points in the paint. But in the second half, Northwestern had an easy path to the basket seemingly every time down court. The Wildcats dominated the glass all night, finishing with 32 rebounds, 10 on the offensive glass.
First Team All-Big Ten selection Melo Trimble finished with 20 points, and got a solid effort from freshmen Kevin Huerter (19 points, 4 rebounds, 3 steals) and Anthony Cowan (13 points).
Noticeably absent was Justin Jackson, who finished with just 2 points. Jackson, along with big men Damonte Dodd, L.G. Gill and Ivan Bender combined to score just 12 points.
For Northwestern they were led by their standout trio of Vic Law (17 points), Scottie Lidnsey (17 points) and Bryant McIntosh (16 points).
A Game of Runs: Maryland raced out to a 7-2 run. But Northwestern responded with a run of their own to tie it at 14. The Wildcats followed that up with a 13-4 run before the Terps responded with a 10-4 run to tie the game at the half. The Terps got out of the second-half gate quickly with a 10-0 run, but once again, the opposing team responded with a 16-2 run. That 16-2 run turned into a 20-5 run.
Home Court Disadvantage?: Although the box score will indicate it was a neutral site game, there was no denying that the Terps were playing in front of a pro-Maryland crowd. But the Terps struggled to gain the affection of the referees, who swallowed their whistles on several high-impact plays when Melo Trimble and Anthony Cowan attempted to get to the rim. The Terps were called for nine fouls in the first half, while Northwestern was whistled seven times. It wasn't a big discrepancy, but the issue was what plays the referees did deem a foul and which ones they didn't. It was all over the map.
A Game About Nothing: Northwestern sophomore Charlie Hall might be the most famous walk-on in the country. His mother happens to be "Veep" and "Seinfeld" star Juliua Louis-Dreyfus. The former Elaine Benes was in attendance for the Big Ten quarterfinals. When the jumbotron cameras cut to her in the second-half, the Verizon Center erupted with a chorus of boos.
The cameras then cut to Maryland alum and SportsCenter anchor Scott Van Pelt, which resulted in a raucous ovation,
What's Next? Even with the loss, the Terrapins are headed to the NCAA Tournament, thanks to a resume worth of an at-large selection. But a strong Big Ten Tournament performance could have resulted in a seed in the No. 3 to No. 5 range. Now it is more likely that the Terps will garner a seed somewhere between No. 7 and No. 10. For the Wildcats, they move on to face No. 2-seed Wisconsin, which beat No. 10 Indiana 70-60.
The Wildcats too, will be headed to the NCAA Tournament regardless of their Big Ten Tournament finish, thanks to a strong resume.
It will be the university's first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.