Huerter’s hot hand leads Maryland to crucial win over Northwestern
Kevin Huerter poured in 22 points and three other Terrapins scored in double digits as Maryland shut down Northwestern, 73-57, Saturday afternoon in College Park.
Maryland moved to 17-10 overall and 6-8 in the Big Ten with the win, and has just four games left in the regular season to make the right impression on the NCAA selection committee. The Terrapins are striving to make their fourth straight NCAA Tournament.
Anthony Cowan posted 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Darryl Morsell had 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds and Dion Wiley added 10 points.
Northwestern made a paltry 33.3 percent of its field goals, the lowest percentage Maryland has held a Big Ten opponent to all year.
Huerter started with a hot hand and made his first four field goals three 3-pointers and a basket with a foul to score 12 points in the first five minutes. He sparked a quick 8-0 run that included threes before and after the game’s first timeout, putting the Terrapins up 19-8. Northwestern struggled going shot-for-shot with Maryland and didn’t get hot on the glass until later in the half.
The Wildcats drew within 22-14 before long, but Anthony Cowan and Dion Wiley answered with consecutive threes to double up Northwestern by the under-eight timeout. Cowan also grabbed one of his seven rebounds, all which came in the first half, to set up the possession where Wiley scored.
Maryland stayed ahead 32-16 and could have put the game away early with a few more points, but Scottie Lindsey nailed 3-pointers on two straight possessions as part of a brief 8-0 Northwestern run.
Huerter missed a few shots but soon ended the Wildcats’ run with a pair of free throws. He also beat the shot clock in the final seconds of the half with a tough six-foot jumper, putting the Terrapins up 36-29 at halftime.
Northwestern came out sloppy in the opening minutes of the second half: three personal fouls, three turnovers and 0-for-3 from the field before finally scoring. Maryland made them pay during that time with seven quick points, including Wiley’s second 3-pointer.
Aaron Falzon brought the Wildcats close again with eight points, including two treys, after playing just five scoreless minutes off the bench in the first half.
But the Terrapins kept them at arm’s length the rest of the game, with Cowan, Huerter and Morsell providing nearly all the team’s offense down the stretch. Meanwhile, Northwestern’s cold shooting hands and Maryland’s defensive effort combined to let the Wildcats to make just one-third of its field goals (19-57) on the night.
Maryland polished the Wildcats off with a 16-3 run late in the game, punctuated by an alley-oop from Cowan to crowd favorite Michal Cekovsky.
Maryland’s next game is Tuesday night at Nebraska.