Maryland men’s basketball’s 19-game home winning streak, the third-longest in Division I, was snapped Tuesday night in a 67-53 defeat to No. 1 Purdue.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game, Maryland head coach Kevin Willard laid out his plan to stop reigning national player of the year Zach Edey: pray. His prayers were not answered, though, as Edey got whatever he wanted early and often.
Edey finished the game with 23 points — 12 of which came in the first half — while shooting 8-for-13 from the field.
“We fared just like everyone else has [against Edey] this year: not well,” Willard said. “You put that body, that skill, those hands and four guys that can shoot around him, he’s tough to guard.”
When Edey was not scoring, Purdue used his gravitational pull to create open 3-point shots. Its offense became a game of monkey-in-the-middle, with Maryland’s perimeter defenders being the odd man out. Edey received the ball in the post, Maryland doubled and then Edey passed it back out to the open shooter.
“What we tried to do a lot of is the repost, and so we’re gonna make you [double] again,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “Just take what the defense gives you. Like if they’re gonna leave Edey one-on-one: score. If not, you know, just hit the open man and make the easy pass.”
Purdue was shooting 38.4% from three this season, and shot 45% from three against Maryland.
This formula was used to obtain an 8-0 lead, which ballooned into a 32-19 lead by halftime. Maryland did not score its first point until nearly three minutes had passed, when Jordan Geronimo knocked down two free throws.
For much of the first half, the Terps’ offense was directionless and couldn’t score without getting to the free-throw line. With Julian Reese and Jahmir Young on the bench, DeShawn Harris-Smith and Donta Scott took turns trying to force their way past Purdue’s defense, which resulted in missed shots until Willard decided he had seen enough.
Young was the only player to challenge Purdue in any sense. He scored 26 points and shot 12-of-23 from the field.
Meanwhile, Scott and Harris-Smith combined for 10 points on 23.1% shooting. Reese, who was tasked with defending and scoring on Edey, had a miserable night as well, going scoreless.
“Julian, he’s got to realize that he’s number one on the scouting report,” Willard said. “He’s got to bring it a little bit more than he has the last couple of games.”
Maryland’s offense began to settle in as the first half wound down and seemed to have found a rhythm after halftime, scoring two quick layups. However, Purdue’s offense never slowed down. The Boilermakers started the second half 4-of-4 from the field — three of which were 3-pointers — to take a 20-point lead.
In firm control, Purdue coasted to an effortless victory.
“I feel like tonight we were one step behind,” Young said. “They were just better than us offensively and defensively. We have to be more physical.”
Three things to know
1. 3-point shooting. Maryland continued to take and miss 3-pointers, shooting 22 threes, two more than Purdue, and making just five. Despite shooting better recently, the Terps looked completely lost on offense and hoisted up a plethora of desperation threes.
2. A striking difference from last year’s game. When Purdue came to College Park last year as the No. 3 team in the country, the game ended with a convincing 68-54 Maryland win. Things could not be more different this time around, as the Terps received their worst beatdown of the season.
3. Everyone but Young. Every Terp not named Jahmir Young was ineffective Tuesday. Aside from the star guard, Maryland shot 9-of-40 from the field.
“You can’t let a guy like that get his head up,” Painter said of Young. “If he gets some output from a couple other guys, its a different game.”