By Chris Tulp
Photos by Lindsey Collins
Maryland men’s basketball team only led for 18 seconds against Purdue Friday, but the game came down to one shot by the Terps at the end that would’ve tied it.
The Boilermakers were able to hold off the Terps’ late push and close out the win, 80-75. Maryland now fall to 6-3 overall, 0-1 in the Big Ten, while Purdue goes to 7-2 overall, 1-0 in the Big Ten. All three of Maryland’s losses this year have come by five or fewer points.
For the first big ten game of the season, it was a stripe out for the student section. Sophomore guard Kevin Huerter acknowledged the crowd. “It felt like a Big Ten opener because our crowd made it feel like a Big Ten game,” Huerter said.
From the start, it was clear that it would be a physical game.
Purdue’s center, Isaac Haas, imposed his will from the beginning, backing down and posting up defenders on offense and swatting shots on defense. The Terps had difficulty scoring on 7-foot-2-inch Haas and 7-foot-3-inch Matt Haarms.
Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan got off to a good start for the Terps, making his first two 3-pointers by the under 16-minute timeout in the first half.
The Boilermakers had their largest lead of 14-points on a few occasions in the first half, but the Terps were able to cut that lead to six, as they were down 43-37 at halftime.
Despite only shooting 33.3 percent in the first half, the Terps were able to stay in the game because they took care of the ball, only committing two turnovers.
The Boilermakers on the other hand, shot 65.4 percent from the field and senior guard Dakota Mathias led the way with 18 points. He was a perfect 7-7 from the field and made all three of his 3-pointers.
Maryland opened the second half on a 7-0 run and took what would be their only lead of the game, 44-43 on a 3-pointer by Huerter.
Things took a turn for the worse when coach Mark Turgeon got a technical foul for arguing a foul that wasn’t called when he thought the Boilermakers elbowed one of the Terps. Maryland then got into foul trouble, despite the good start.
Purdue gained momentum and at the under 16-minute timeout, they regained the lead, 54-44, thanks to an 11-0 run.
The Terps then flipped the script and went on an 11-3 run of their own to cut the deficit to 57-51.
The teams continued to trade blows as the Boilermakers had a 72-63 lead with less than four minutes to go. Cowan then went on a 7-0 run all by himself after converting two and-one shots on consecutive possessions to make it a 78-75 game.
“I thought Anthony (Cowan) was phenomenal tonight,” Turgeon said. “Five assists, 20 points, no turnovers, guarded – he was really good.”
The Terps are still searching for a player to fill the leadership role now that Melo Trimble is gone, although Cowan has been transitioning into that role.
After a Purdue turnover, the Terps got the ball back with a chance to tie the game. Senior guard/forward Jared Nickens came off a screen and got an open shot in the corner, but it fell short.
Purdue went on to seal the game with two free throws.
Huerter had no problem with the call and execution on the final play.
“I thought that they would expect the play to be run for me,” Huerter said. “We have a lot of confidence in Jared. I told him after the game that if we were to run that same play again I would still have confidence in you to make it.”
Purdue coach Matt Painter said they were trying to deny Huerter the ball in what was a similar situation as the game between the two teams last year when Huerter got off an open shot, but missed a game winner.
“Last year we messed that up,” Painter said. “We’ve gotten fortunate two years in a row.”
In the end, Turgeon thought that Purdue’s seniors made a difference and as a team, they were further along than the Terps.
“They had a summer tour for about a month and it showed,” Turgeon said. “To me, it’s amazing that we had a shot to tie it at the end.”
The Terps play one more Big Ten game, then go on to finish out the non-conference schedule before fulling resuming the Big Ten schedule.