David Banks-US PRESSWIRE
The Northwestern Wildcats dropped their first game of the year, being completely outclassed by Alex Len and Maryland, letting a two-point halftime lead slip into a 20 point loss at home.
Northwestern was physically beaten and shot poorly, losing by a bunch to a bigger, stronger Maryland squad that allowed NU to keep it close for a half before taking over in the second for a
Saying it was a tale of two halves doesn't really do justice to Northwestern, since they played pretty poorly in both halves. The first half, Northwestern was murdered on the boards, 26-10, and only shot 3-for-15 from three, but because Maryland turned the ball over ten times, the Cats only trailed by two. I said Northwestern was lucky to be that close, and it turned out they were.
In the second half, Alex Len began to dominate, scoring six quick, blocking two shots, and getting several boards. Realizing that wasn't going to do, the Cats switched into a 1-3-1, but Mark Turgeon swapped out the big guys and brought in Logan Aronhalt, who drilled a couple of threes from the seams of the zone. From there, it was over, as Maryland opened up a 20-point lead quickly. Shades of Baylor last year.
Gotta give it to Maryland: I saw their squad when this pairing came out and saw an easy win. But they had the personnel to manhandle Northwestern, and they did, not slowing down and skipping a beat. I think that's a pretty good team Northwestern just lost to. But it's still pretty disappointing to see them get completely dominated physically. They were just stronger and better, and NU didn't make the shots to make it close..
Northwestern won't get far if they have nights like this. The offensive rebounding was to be expected, but the shooting was abysmal despite open looks, and there was really no offensive flow. Drew Crawford was nowhere to be found - 10 points on 14 shots - and there isn't enough talent on this squad to winconsistently against mediocre-to-good teams if he does that.