COLLEGE PARK -- Just because Maryland beat Northwestern by double digits on the road earlier this month in the first matchup between these two teams didn’t mean Tuesday night would be all smooth sailing.
Give Northwestern credit. They battled, they scrapped, and they took advantage of where Maryland struggled.
But Mark Turgeon’s decision to insert Diamond Stone late in overtime turned the tide of a hard-fought, back-and-forth 62-56 overtime victory over the Wildcats in College Park.
Stone -- sparingly used because of foul trouble -- played a big part in the extra period.
With 1:13 to play, a beautiful pass from Melo Trimble found Stone who laid it in, plus the foul to break a 55-55 tie. He would come down on the next possession and get fouled again and hit two clutch free throws to push the lead to two possessions, 60-56.
Stone finished with 11 points in just 15 minutes on the floor.
Here are five things you need to know.
1) Following the wrong book
When it comes to allowing a team less talented than you to stay in a game, Maryland was doing everything by the book -- and that’s not good if you’re looking to get a win.
At the center of the issue? Turnovers and rebounding issues. Through 13 minutes, the Terrapins had turned the ball over nine times and allowed six Northwestern offensive rebounds. Not only does that help a team get a lead, but it helps them build confidence as well.
By the 12:33 mark, the Wildcats led by seven points.
2) Diamond Stone gets into foul trouble
For much of the year since he was shifted to the role as sixth man, five-star freshman Diamond Stone has been able to avoid serious foul trouble. That was not the case on Tuesday.
He picked up his second foul with 9:47 to go in the first half, which pushed him back to the bench and kept him out of an offensive groove. Fortunately for Maryland, Damonte Dodd came to play.
Having to face some good Northwestern size, he played smart defense in the post and ate up the minutes that would normally go to Stone. The issue was compounded by the fact that sophomore center Michal Cekovsky missed Tuesday’s game with an illness.
3) Locking down defensively
Defending doesn’t only mean forcing a miss. It means finishing a possession, as well, which Maryland was not doing early. It took until near the end of the half, but what followed when the Terrapins shifted into gear was a Northwestern drought.
Maryland used a 10-0 run from 4:35 to 1:26 of first half to pull ahead by four points.
No one was selfish in that run or forced shots. The ball was spread around, from Melo Trimble to Jared Nickens to Jake Layman. Maryland led by two points at the break.
4) Both teams struggle offensively to start second
It took more than two minutes for anyone to score in the second half. It seemed Maryland would be able to create some separation, pushing out to an eight-point lead -- their largest of the game -- with 14:34 to play. But a Maryland scoring drought of nearly five minutes followed.
Northwestern did not light it up during that stretch, but pulled even, 41-41, by the nine-minute mark of the second half.
5) Fighting down the stretch (and OT)
From the 7:28 mark of the second half to the 6:21 mark, three straight Maryland possessions ended in jumpers. Mark Turgeon stomped his feet angrily and a timeout soon followed. The message out of that timeout was clear -- get to the basket.
Melo Trimble did that out of the break. Score. And again the next possession. A miss turned into a Jake Layman three to give Maryland the lead, 48-47. Northwestern would tie it, 48-48, with a free throw.
Trimble’s three as the second ticked away in regulation was no good and they headed to overtime.
Stone turned the tide in overtime and Maryland escaped with a win.
Trimble finished with a game-high 18 points and added six assists.