Eric Ayala went off for 26 points and 11 rebounds, both career highs, to help Maryland survive a duel with host Northwestern and win 94-87 in double overtime Wednesday night in Evanston, Ill.
Fatts Russell added 23 points and seven assists for Maryland (9-7, 1-4 Big Ten), which ended a three-game losing streak and notched its first conference win of the season.
Russell hit a floater and drew a foul for a game-tying three-point play with 34 seconds left in the first overtime. His jumper with 3:10 left in the second overtime put Maryland up 89-85, which proved to be enough of a cushion.
Northwestern (8-6, 1-4) scored six points in the final 15 seconds of regulation to force overtime. Pete Nance made 16 of his career-best 28 points in the second half, including four in the crucial sequence that extended the game, and Robbie Beran finished with 17.
With his team down 72-66, Nance knocked down a 3-pointer with 15 seconds to play to halve the deficit. Ayala knocked the ensuing inbounds pass out of bounds and Maryland’s Donta Scott was called for a flagrant foul in the process, so the Wildcats recovered possession after making two free throws.
Nance drove to the basket and was fouled with 11 seconds left and made the game-tying free throw but clanked the go-ahead opportunity, sending things to overtime.
Nance also matched a career high with 14 rebounds. Boo Buie went for 13 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, whose losing streak grew to four games.
For Maryland, Hakim Hart had 18 points and eight boards while Scott scored 17 points before fouling at in the final moments of regulation.
Down 48-46 at the under-12 timeout of the second half, Ayala and Scott combined for Maryland’s next 20 points. A pair of Ayala 3-pointers handed the Terrapins its largest lead of the night to that point, 56-51, with 7:49 to play.
Ayala scored seven unanswered points in the first half, starting when he drew a foul while sinking a triple and converted the four-point play. His solo run put Maryland ahead 21-19 with 5:25 left in the half, but the Wildcats stayed close and Beran’s layup with three seconds left made it a 30-30 game at halftime.
Maryland got revenge for a 67-61 home loss to Northwestern on Dec. 5.
–Field Level Media