Maryland men’s basketball upset by Northwestern, 60-55, ending five-game winning streak

Junior guard Aaron Wiggins scored a career-high 26 points and senior guard Darryl Morsell added 14, but the Maryland men’s basketball team couldn’t sustain a strong start, falling to Northwestern, 60-55, at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Illinois, on Wednesday night.

The Terps, who solidified their NCAA tournament resume with a five-game winning streak to end last month, missed their final seven field-goal attempts and went scoreless over the final 2:32. Junior guard Eric Ayala, who recorded five points on 2-for-12 shooting, and Morsell missed back-to-back 3-point attempts over a Wildcats zone defense in the final minute as Northwestern (8-14, 5-13 Big Ten) made key free throws late and scored the game’s final six points.


Meanwhile, Maryland (15-11, 9-10), which did not attempt a free throw until 6:31 remaining in the game, went 4-for-7 from the line. Neither team attempted a free throw in the first half, marking the first time that’s happened in a game involving a Big Ten team since Davidson played at Purdue on Nov. 16, 2018, according to the Big Ten Network.

Outside of Wiggins and Morsell, who shot 16-for-23 from the field, the rest of the Terps’ starters — Ayala, sophomore forward Donta Scott and sophomore guard Hakim Hart — went 5-for-26, and the bench did not record a single point.


“We had two guys play well, I’m not going to mention names,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Rest of us weren’t very good. Frustrating night. And we still had a chance to win it, we still had a chance to win it. We got back to our inconsistencies when we weren’t a very good team. We were back to that team tonight.”

Maryland scored the first nine points to take its largest lead of the night but couldn’t replicate last Sunday’s game against Michigan State, in which it scored the first 11 points en route to a wire-to-wire victory. Northwestern responded with eight straight points and a 22-7 run to take the lead.

“We know how it is in the Big Ten, though,” Morsell, a Mount Saint Joseph graduate, said. “We didn’t expect this to be a blowout. After we were up 9-0, we knew we were still in for a dogfight.”

After scoring the game’s first nine points, the Terps committed eight turnovers in the first half and 15 total. Turgeon alluded to a lack of focus leading to the miscues.

“To me, the game is a lot from the neck up,” he said. “There’s a lot to be said about the neck up. And we just weren’t worth a flip from the neck up. All game.”

Said Morsell: “It’s us. Can’t blame nobody else. We can’t blame Coach Turgeon. It’s us five on the court. We’ve got to take care of the ball. We’re not running, we’re not in transition turning the ball over. It’s all in the halfcourt. So we’ve just got to do a better job of making reads and making the right plays.”

Northwestern led 28-26 at halftime, and although it missed its first four 3-point attempts, it shot 8-for-19 in the first half and 10-for-29 in the game. The Wildcats outrebounded the Terps 17-14 in the half, including 6-1 on the offensive boards.

Northwestern led by as many as six in the second half, but Wiggins and Ayala hit back-to-back 3-pointers to tie the game at 43 with 9:50 left. Wiggins, who shot 10-for-15 from the field, has recorded at least 20 points in three of his past five games. Ayala failed to reach double figures for the first time since Jan. 27, ending a streak of eight games scoring at least 10 points.


The Wildcats went on a 5-0 run to retake the lead, while Maryland went scoreless for over three minutes after tying the game despite shooting 42% overall on the night.

Wiggins hit a 3-pointer to give the Terps a 51-50 lead, then converted a three-point play on a driving layup to give Maryland a 54-52 lead with four minutes remaining. But a Morsell free throw, which gave Maryland a 55-54 lead, would be the Terps’ final points of the game. Center Ryan Young made a post layup after backing down Wiggins to give Northwestern a 56-55 lead with 90 seconds left.

Three Wildcats scored in double figures, led by guard Boo Buie’s 15 points, as Northwestern won its second straight game after 13 consecutive losses. It also marked the program’s third victory over the Terps in 13 meetings.

Regular-season finale


Sunday, 7 p.m.


TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM