(MCT) — EVANSTON, Ill. — Is it too late for Northwestern to reject Maryland’s entry into the Big Ten?
The Terrapins hammered their soon-to-be conference mates, dominating the second half of a 77-57 drubbing at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Northwestern had its four-game Big Ten-ACC Challenge winning streak snapped in humbling fashion.
The Wildcats were favored to win Tuesday, but the stats told the story of their demise: They shot 34 percent and collected 19 rebounds; Maryland hit 52.7 percent and grabbed 47 rebounds.
That margin was exaggerated by NU’s horrid shooting, but still ... 47-19?
“A horrible effort on the boards,” point guard Dave Sobolewski called it.
The Terrapins entered as the nation’s best offensive rebounding team, and they added 12 more Tuesday. The Wildcats scooped up just four — and it’s not as if they didn’t give themselves chances.
Drew Crawford (4-for-14), Mike Turner (1-for-6) and Kale Abrahamson (0-for-4) were among those who struggled from the field.
Northwestern coach Bill Carmody said Crawford is “definitely pressing” — overly eager to assert himself as a senior.
Abrahamson, meanwhile, fired jumpers as if the game had a 10-second shot clock.
“We didn’t make them guard us for extended periods,” Carmody said.
Added Reggie Hearn, who scored a team-high 19 points: “We had an advantage in speed, but we didn’t make them work.”
NU’s defense completely unraveled in the second half, as the Wildcats allowed a bevy of layups and dunks, many uncontested.
“It was almost a perfect second half for us,” Maryland (5-1) coach Mark Turgeon said.
Center Alex Len was the kingpin of Maryland’s second-half surge. The 7-foot-1 Ukrainian is that rarity in college basketball — a talented big man who is not a freshman.
ESPN.com analyst Jason King called him “the best player in America that no one is talking about,” but he did attract the attention Tuesday of talent-seekers such as Bulls general manager Gar Forman.
Len dominated in the first three-plus minutes after the break, swishing a jumper, throwing down a dunk, rejecting an Alex Olah offering and hitting a put-back.
He later swatted Crawford near the basket — a play that symbolized the night.
The only good news for Northwestern (6-1): It’s only one game.
“It was a November game against an ACC team; it’s not the end of the season,” Sobolewski said. “This will make us hungrier to improve every day in practice.”