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Porous defense and lack of support dooms Maryland in Big Ten quarters vs. Northwestern

Porous defense and lack of support dooms Maryland in Big Ten quarters vs. Northwestern

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.

https://twitter.com/_MarcusD2_/status/840411286538244096

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.

Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

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Virginia snaps 3-game losing streak with 63-58 win over Georgia Tech

ATLANTA (AP) -- Jay Huff and Mamadi Diakite scored 17 points apiece as defending national champion Virginia snapped a three-game losing streak with a 63-58 win over Georgia Tech on Saturday night.

The Cavaliers (12-5, 4-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) finally regained their winning touch after dropping out of The Associated Press ranking for the first time since November 2017.

Georgia Tech (8-10, 3-5) lost its fourth straight home game. The Yellow Jackets haven't won at McCamish Pavilion since a Dec. 4 victory over Nebraska. 

Diakite's dunk with 14:47 remaining gave Virginia its biggest lead, 43-29.

The Cavaliers were still up 48-37 with just over 10 minutes to go when Georgia Tech suddenly came to life offensively.

The Yellow Jackets scored on four of five possessions, stringing together a 9-0 run that cut Virginia's edge to 48-46.

That was as close as Georgia Tech would get.

Huff, a 7-foot-1 center, knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key to thwart Georgia Tech's momentum. A few minutes later, he swished another open jumper to make it 55-48. 

Georgia Tech got a basket and a defensive stop, but Braxton Key swooped on for an offensive rebound to give the Cavaliers a second chance. With just over 2 minutes to go, Diakite was left open on the wing for a jumper that made it 57-50, effectively finishing off the Yellow Jackets.

Jose Alvarado paced Georgia Tech with 20 points.

Virginia led 33-25 at halftime, taking advantage of the home team's sloppy play. The Yellow Jackets hit 11 of 18 shots (61.1%) but turned it over 13 times, wasting far too many possessions against the defensive-minded Cavaliers.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers picked up a desperately needed victory to avoid their longest losing streak since a four-game skid from Feb. 12-20, 2017. While still a far cry from their national championship squad, Virginia showed some offensive efficiency to go along with its always-tenacious defense. Key chipped in with 10 points. 

Georgia Tech: This is shaping up to be another disappointing season, raising more doubts about whether coach Josh Pastner can turn around a program that is approaching a decade since its last NCAA Tournament appearance. The Yellow Jackets continue to show flashes of promise, but Pastner has been unable to develop any sort of consistency in his fourth season. 

UP NEXT

Virginia: Returns home to play North Carolina State on Monday night. 

Georgia Tech: Hits the road for the first of two meetings against No. 11 Louisville. The teams will meet again in Atlanta on March 7, the final game of the regular season. 

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Hyland scores 21 to lead VCU past St. Bonaventure

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Hyland scores 21 to lead VCU past St. Bonaventure

Nah'Shon Hyland had a season-high 21 points as VCU easily beat Saint Bonaventure 91-63 on Saturday.

Hyland hit 5 of 6 3-pointers. He added eight rebounds.

Marcus Santos-Silva had 17 points and 11 rebounds for VCU (13-5, 3-2 Atlantic 10 Conference). Issac Vann added 10 points. Corey Douglas had seven rebounds.

VCU dominated the first half and led 52-24 at the break. The Rams' 52 first-half points marked a season best for the team.

Justin Winston had 17 points for the Bonnies (12-6, 4-1), whose four-game win streak was broken. Jaren English added 15 points. Dominick Welch had seven rebounds.

VCU takes on Saint Joseph's on the road on Tuesday. Saint Bonaventure plays Dayton on the road on Wednesday.

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