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Northwestern basketball iced by soon-to-be-familiar foe Maryland

Alex Olah Alex Len James Padgett

Alex Olah, Alex Len, James Padgett

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Updated: December 29, 2012 6:34AM

Northwestern only can hope Tuesday night’s 77-57 loss to Maryland at Welsh-Ryan Arena doesn’t become an annual event when the Terrapins join the Big Ten in 2014.

“We had to be able to play with these guys, especially at home,” Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said. “We’re all disappointed. We’ll get out of it and work hard and get this thing turned around.”

Carmody knew rebounding would be critical to his team’s success, but the knowledge wasn’t much help. Not only did the Terps (5-1) outrebound the Cats 47-19, but they shot 53 percent from the floor and 39 percent from three-point range. Northwestern shot 34 and 24, respectively.

The result was Northwestern’s first loss in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge after four consecutive wins and its first defeat after 22 November wins in a row.

“They were a confident team coming in at 6-0,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “I didn’t expect this. I was proud of our guys.”

A close first half quickly spun out of control for Northwestern in the second, in which lousy shooting, shoddy defense and lopsided rebounding totals set the stage for a rout.

Maryland led 28-26 at the break before opening the second half by making 12 of 14 shots. The lead ballooned from 11 to 21 points when the Terps’ Nick Faust converted a three-point play with 8:07 left in the game.

“We didn’t make them move and guard us,” said NU guard Reggie Hearn, who finished with a team-high 19 points. “They had an advantage in size. We had an advantage in speed, but we didn’t make them work on the defensive end.”

Dave Sobolewski added 14 points for Northwestern (6-1). Drew Crawford, the Cats’ leading scorer, shot 4-for-14 with 10 points.

“He’s definitely pressing,” Carmody said of Crawford. “He’s a good player. He’ll break out of it. But right now, he’s definitely pressing.”

Dez Wells scored 23 for Maryland, and 7-1 center Alex Len had 13 points and 13 rebounds. He six quick points during the decisive stretch to start the second half.

“It was a November game against an ACC team,” Sobolewski said. “It’s not the end of the season. We’ve got a lot of work to do for sure, but we’re not going to stop working. If anything, this will make us hungrier.

“It was nothing more than a loss in November.”

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