For example, they won all their Big Ten home games.
“Going 10-0 in this conference at home, that’s pretty impressive for this group,” Willard said. “I just think it shows you how great of a program this is, how great of a fan base it is.”
The Terrapins (20-9, 11-7) finished 16-1 overall at home, and they used unusually impressive 3-point shooting to turn back the Wildcats (20-9, 11-7). Maryland’s win also clinched at least a share of the Big Ten title for No. 5 Purdue.
The Boilermakers (24-5, 13-5) now have a record 25 Big Ten championships, three more than Indiana, which is one of several teams that can still tie Purdue at the top this year. Remarkably, Maryland and Northwestern also are in that group. The Terps have made huge strides since Willard arrived from Seton Hall, and Chris Collins’ Wildcats entered the AP Top 25 this week before losing to Illinois and Maryland.
“This league is hard. You play good teams,” Collins said. “We’re not down in any way. We’re still excited. We’ve got a big week coming up again, and you’ve just got to learn from these games and go home and try to make it right when you get another opportunity to play.”
The Terrapins have not been a good 3-point shooting team this season. They entered their game Sunday at 31% from beyond the arc but went 14 of 22 against Northwestern. Young and Carey made four each.
The 6-foot-1 Young threw down an emphatic dunk to give Maryland a 35-32 lead. He later made a 3 at the buzzer to put the Terps up 41-39 at halftime.
“I was feeling it from 3 early on, so just trying to get a shot up,” said Young, who scored 16 of his points before halftime.
Maryland was 8 for 11 from long distance in the first half, and both teams were shooting around 60% from the field. The Terps didn’t regress much in the second. A 3 by Carey capped a 12-2 run that put Maryland up 67-51, and it was smooth sailing from there.
Chase Audige led Northwestern with 16 points.
Northwestern: Purdue’s recent struggles gave the Wildcats a shot at their first Big Ten title since 1933, but those chances took a big hit Sunday in front of a packed house at Maryland.
“We haven’t been good enough the last couple years probably to kind of warrant that kind of spirited crowd,” Collins said. “They knew this was a high-level game. They knew there was a lot on the line for both teams here late in the season.”
Maryland: The Terps went unbeaten at home in Big Ten play for the second time. They also did it in 2014-15, their first season in the league. Maryland made more than 10 3s in a game for only the second time this season. The Terps had 13 in a win over Saint Louis in November.
Willard said he tried to stay loose on a day Maryland honored its senior class.
“I wanted to have fun. I never have fun on senior night. I’m an emotional wreck, and that goes off onto my players,” Willard said. “So the only thing I told them was I just wanted to have fun today. … I was going to have fun no matter what. We got blown out by 20, I was going to enjoy the fact that this group has worked really hard, and I was going to be appreciative of what they’ve given us.”