Ugh. Northwestern men’s basketball (12-9, 3-7 B1G) turned in another disappointing performance in a defeat at the hands of the No. 21 Maryland Terrapins (17-5, 8-3 B1G), 70-52, on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats trailed the majority of the game, missing plenty of open shots and with no sense of direction on offense. Within the first six minutes, the ‘Cats had accumulated five fouls and were handing over points to the Terrapins. The ‘Cats had tough opponents – Bruno Fernando, a powerhouse sophomore, was the Terrapins’ most valuable asset this game as he controlled their offense and defense. His biggest highlight of the night was the beginning of the end for Northwestern. He slammed down a one-handed dunk to extend the lead to 10 with just under five minutes left in the first half, and the ‘Cats never were less than 10 points behind for the remainder of the game.
Northwestern trailed 33-22 at the half. Once the second half began, they continued to rack up fouls.
Anthony Gaines stood out tonight as the lead scorer, setting a new career high of 18 points. He controlled many offensive possessions for the Wildcats and drew plenty of fouls, making seven of 10 free throws. He and Dererk Pardon both had seven rebounds. Pardon lacked his typical efficiency and made only five of 14 field goals, contributing 14 points.
The ‘Cats ended the game with 31% shooting from the floor and an abysmal 22 percent mark from beyond the arc. The Terrapins shot 46 percent from the floor and made 13-16 free throws. Overall, the ‘Cats struggled against the fourth-best team in the Big Ten and still haven’t found any consistent offensive rhythm over halfway into the season.
The Wildcats will next play against Penn State on Feb. 4 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. If Northwestern turns in a performance like this one, they may hand the Nittany Lions their first conference win.