By The Sports Xchange
EVANSTON, Ill. — Melo Trimble had a career night and his Maryland teammates made sure Northwestern couldn’t muster an effective response on Wednesday.
Trimble scored a career-high 32 points to lead the No. 23 Terrapins (22-4, 10-3) to a 74-64 Big Ten victory over the Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
“It was obvious he had another gear tonight,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, whose team claimed its second straight win. “We (also) had great energy defensively… and our offensive execution was tremendous. We added a few things last week or so and worked for us and of course Melo got going.
“Because he was so good it allowed us to extend the lead. He was terrific.”
Maryland moved into a second-place tie with idle Purdue and stands one-half game in back of Big Ten-leading Wisconsin heading into a Sunday showdown with the Badgers.
Maryland improved to 10-1 away from home as Anthony Cowan scored 13 points while Damonte Dodd added 12.
The Terrapins are now 4-0 against the Wildcat since joining the Big Ten.
The Wildcats (19-7, 8-5) dropped their third in four games as Isiah Brown scored a team-high 19 points while Vic Law had 12 and Dererk Pardon added 11.
Maryland led from the opening minute and extended its lead to double-digits at 22-11 on a Dodd layup with 7:05 remaining in the first half. Northwestern twice cut the deficit to seven points, the last as a Brown layup made it 29-22 with 17 seconds left.
But Trimble closed the half with a three-point play with 3 seconds remaining as the Terrapins moved to a 32-22 halftime lead.
Trimble had 13 first half points while Northwestern was plagued by poor shooting (9-of-28 for 32.1 percent) and had McIntosh, the Wildcats’ No. 2 scorer, on the bench with three fouls through much of the half.
“I thought Trimble was fantastic, it’s as good as I’ve seen him and he’s played a lot of good games,” said Wildcats coach Chris Collins.
Maryland used an 11-4 run — including six from Trimble — over a span of 4 minutes, 38 seconds to build a game-high 62-42 lead with 7:28 to play.
Northwestern rallied to cut the deficit to single digits, but never got closer than eight with 1:15 to play.
For the game, the Wildcats shot 39 percent from the field (23-of-59), just 5-of-22 from 3-point range and hit only 13-of-23 free throw tries. Maryland was 27-of-54 (50 percent) and connected on 8-of-18 (44.4 percent) from 3-point range.
“We just could never get anything going,” said Collins. “We had open shots early that we missed. I’m not sure what it was but I just thought we were a step slow with everything tonight.”
Maryland has a chance to claim the Big Ten lead on Sunday in Madison, Wis.
“You see light at the end of the tunnel,” Turgeon said. “We’ve got to lock in and our energy level’s got to be great.”