Behind most of the game, the 13th-ranked Maryland Terrapins overcame a lackluster defensive effort with a stunning finish punctuated by a Dez Well’s put back with just seconds to play to topple the stubborn Northwestern Wildcats, 68-67 at an ecstatic Xfinity Center.
The Terrapins took their first lead of the game with 21 seconds left to play behind Melo Trimble’s two free throws which made the score 66-65.
Indiana answered with a basket by Tre Demps to regain the lead at 67-66 with 13 seconds to go. Trimble then dribbled to just behind the three-point line and calmly launched a jumper that rimmed out and landed in the arms of Wells, who while in midair, banked the rebound in to give Maryland the lead again for good at 68-67 with 1.4 seconds to play.
A Wildcat heave from half court missed and the Terrapins were able to celebrate and savor the most improbable win of the year while improving to (18-2, 6-2 Big Ten).
Things looked bleak for the Terps, who were behind by nearly double digits the entire second half, but with the score 63-52 with 3:47 to play the Terrapins used a full court press to rattle the Wildcats and mount their comeback. First, Trimble completed a three-point-play to make the score 63-55. Wells then made a layup and the margin was 63-57.
The press created a steal and Wells made another layup to make the score 63-59 with just under two minutes to play. The Wildcats hit a runner to make the score 65-59 but Wells, who nearly lost the ball, recovered it and threw a slick pass to Jake Layman who buried a three to close the gap to 65-62 with 62 seconds to play in the game. After a Northwestern timeout, Trimble scored on a layup to make the score 65-64.
Trimble then fouled Bryant McIntosh, who missed the front end of a one and one free throw attempt, and then fouled Trimble as he drove to the basket. His two free throws gave the Terps their first lead of the game at 66-65 to complete a 14-2 Terps rally and set up Well’s heroic basket to seal the victory.
Meanwhile, Northwestern lost another heartbreaker and dropped to (10-10, 1-6) as they had opportunities to close out victories against Michigan State, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio State but instead lost their sixth straight game and continued their trend of not being able to finish off Big Ten opponents.
The Terps were led by Trimble who scored a game-high 27 points, 19 in the second half, had four steals, three assists and two rebounds. Wells, who hugged team mates and coaches after the game and overcame two early charging fouls, chipped in with 17 points and Layman collected a team-high eight rebounds, scored eight points, had three steals and two assists.
The Wildcats came roaring out of the gate and rode some hot shooting on their way to a quick 19-11 first half lead. Northwestern had their largest lead of 38-24 with 3:41 to play while shooting 70 percent and hitting 7 of 12 three pointers to take a 41-30 lead at the half.
In the second half the Terps held the Wildcats to 10 for 25 shooting including making 1 of 8 three-pointers after the break.
Meanwhile, the Terps hit 18 0f 25 free throws with Trimble leading the way making 9 of 10 attempts. The Terps also forced 17 turnovers which led to 19 points.
McIntosh led the Wildcats with 21 points and Sanjay Lumpkin added 12 points and six rebounds. The Terps held Northwestern center Alex Olah, who was averaging 17 points in three straight conference games, to eight points and four rebounds in a losing effort for the Wildcats.