The Maryland men’s basketball team returns to action on Tuesday night on the heels of a blowout win over Ohio State this past Saturday.
In a game Maryland could not seem to do anything wrong, the Terrapins crushed the Buckeyes by a final score of 100-65 at home. Up next for the Terps is their second matchup with Northwestern, who they defeated in the first contest 72-59.
When the two teams first met on Jan. 2, guards Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon led the way for Maryland with a combined 40 points. Trimble added eight rebounds, eight assists, and two steals while not committing a single turnover.
The team managed to bounce back after a lackluster performance against a much less talented Penn State team, leading Northwestern by 20 at the half. Diamond Stone also played well, scoring 10 points while adding three rebounds and two blocks.
So who will be the deciding factor for Maryland Tuesday night in College Park? The answer could be forward Robert Carter.
In the first matchup, Carter struggled from the field, shooting just 3-of-12 and finishing with only eight points. He missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and went just two-of-six from the free throw line. Carter has been on an absolute tear lately, most recently pouring in 25 points against a surprisingly helpless Ohio State team.
Since his eight-point effort against Northwestern on Jan. 2, Carter has averaged 16.5 points-per-game and 6.5 rebounds-per-game over the last four games, while converting an astonishing two-thirds of his shot attempts. He has also hit 6-of 10 three-point shot attempts during that time span.
The main concern for Maryland again will be containing Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh, who managed 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds, and three steals in the first matchup. McIntosh is a talented player averaging 15.8 ppg and 7.3 assists-per-game this year. McIntosh racked up 28 points against Wisconsin, who Maryland scraped by thanks to a game-winning three-pointer from Trimble.
Northwestern is coming off a loss at home against Penn State. The Wildcats were doomed in that game by abysmal three-point shooting, as they went 0-of-12 from three in the first half and ended up missing 25 of their 28 shots from beyond the arc.
In their previous loss to Maryland, Northwestern made just two-of-20 three-point shot attempts.
Center Alex Olah will be a player to watch on Tuesday, who was sidelined for six weeks with a foot injury prior to returning for the Wildcats’ game against Penn State. The 7’0 center played only seven minutes in that game, but has averaged 12.2 ppg and 6.2 rpg with a game high of 21 points (four times).
If Northwestern begins to go cold from long range again and Olah plays more minutes, look for the Wildcats to work the ball inside quite a bit more.