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Takeaways from Maryland men’s basketball’s loss to Purdue

Catch up on some takeaways from the Terps’ defeat.

Maryland men’s basketball struggled against Purdue, posting only 53 points in a loss to the nation’s No. 1 team.
Cal Tobias/Testudo Times

Maryland men’s basketball lost to No. 1 Purdue on Tuesday, 67-53, moving it to 9-5 on the season with a 1-2 conference record. It was the first time Maryland lost at home this season.

Here are three takeaways from the game.

The Terps have zero offensive direction

In all but a few of its games, Maryland has struggled to score. But seeing the Terps face an elite team showcased precisely how dire their situation is.

Possession after possession, Maryland looked lost with the ball in its hands, unable to generate open looks or knock them down when they appeared. Maryland scored just 19 points in the first half and wasn’t much better in the second.

“When you don’t make shots, they make you pay for it,” forward Donta Scott said.

On the other end, Purdue put on an impressive showcase of offensive fluidity. The Boilermakers’ ball movement was crisp, and they displayed a clear identity of inside-out basketball. Purdue had 16 assists to Maryland’s five, as the difference in gracility between the two teams was stark.

“It’s not really a thing on our scouting report to pass the ball. It’s just kind of everyone on the team trusts each other,” Purdue center Zach Edey said. “So everybody’s going to give up a contested looked for an open look and give up a shot they have for a better shot.”

Jahmir Young operated as Maryland’s sole offensive bright spot. He scored nearly half of the team’s points with 26-point showing, but even that wasn’t enough to keep the Terps in it.

“I’m just really trying to win, so I mean, my 26 points meant nothing to me,” Young said.

As currently constituted, Maryland is on pace to have one of the most productive guards in the nation and comfortably miss the NCAA Tournament. It’s becoming clearer the team doesn’t have the necessary pieces around Young to compete with the top teams in the Big Ten.

Reese was silenced

Julian Reese went scoreless in 34 minutes of game action on Tuesday, the first time in his career he’s gone without a point in a game during which he played at least 15 minutes.

The problem for Reese wasn’t a lack of efficiency, free-throw shooting or foul trouble, it was simply that he didn’t possess the ball enough and was forced to take a back seat. Reese only took four shots — one in the second half — and was made uncomfortable all game long.

“That’s pretty much our biggest issue,” Terps head coach Kevin Willard said of Reese’s struggles. “... I think we’ve got to do a better job of trying to help him get some easy buckets at times to kind of loosen him up.”

After a strong start to the season that validated a preseason All-Big Ten selection, Reese has cooled off of late. In his last two games against high-major competition, he’s 0-for-6 from the field with a total of one point scored.

Purdue’s forwards are an elite bunch, not to mention the innate ability Edey has to disrupt opponents near the hoop, so there’s no shame in struggling against them. Ample reasons also exist to believe Reese will turn it around — he has shown his ability to dominate with frequency and every player goes through cold stretches. But Maryland simply can’t afford for its second-most productive player to go scoreless if it aims to compete with teams of a decent caliber.

Maryland’s home winning streak was snapped

Although it struggled on the road last year, Maryland turned XFINITY Center into a fortress. Outside of a December loss to UCLA, the Terps ran the table in College Park and entered Tuesday with a 19-game home winning streak; only Oral Roberts and Boise State (21 games) had longer strings of consecutive home victories.

It became quickly evident that the streak was destined to end. The 22 seconds that elapsed before Purdue’s first made shot were the only ones during which the Boilermakers didn’t possess a lead. It had been over six years since they had won in College Park, but they looked more than comfortable doing so on Tuesday.

“It’s tough to play these games when your students aren’t here, to be honest with you,” Willard said, noting the game was played over the university’s winter break. “... But for them to come in here and do this to us on our home court, that should be a little bit of an eye opener for everybody.”

Purdue will be the toughest team Maryland faces this year, but in order to match last year’s conference record — one that earned it a middle-of-the-pack NCAA Tournament seed after a better nonconference performance than this year’s team put forth — the Terps will need to begin snatching wins on the road, something that has generally eluded them under Willard.

“It’s definitely tough losing on your home court,” Young said. “... We got to go one on the road and get one, you know, get back in his building and get one.”