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Maryland basketball drops Big Ten opener to Purdue, 80-75

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The Terps rebounded from a slow start, but it wasn’t enough.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In a heated conference home opener in front of the most raucous Xfinity Center crowd of the year, Maryland basketball fell to Purdue, 80-75.

Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan did nearly everything they could to keep Maryland in the game. Huerter scored 19 points on 5-9 shooting, while Cowan attempted to pull off a miracle minute all by himself, completing both a four-point and a three-point play in 10 seconds to pull the Terps within three. The sophomore stole a pass on Purdue’s next possession, giving Maryland one last possession to tie the game. Jared Nickens came up just short on a three-pointer, and the Terps’ comeback hopes were all but squashed.

Cowan finished with a team-high 20 points, but it was ultimately not enough to overcome an off night offensively from Darryl Morsell, who made only three of his 16 shots.

Isaac Haas was a problem early, scoring six points on three shots before the first media timeout. On the whole, Purdue’s size was a big problem for for Maryland. Haas and Matt Haarms had three blocks in the first 10 minutes; Haas had 10 points. Coming out of the under-8 media timeout, Maryland started doubling Haas in the post. The senior finally missed a shot and committed two turnovers in quick succession.

Thirteen minutes into the game, Purdue was still shooting 76.5 percent from the field, and consequently led 32-18. Though the Terps had pulled in seven of their first 15 misses offensively, it wasn’t enough to stop the Boilermakers from shooting the lights out; they scored on 15 of their first 25 possessions.

Maryland went on a 10-3 run to close the half, cutting the deficit to six. The run was capped with an Anthony Cowan 3-pointer with 1:44 left in the first half, and the Xfinity Center came to life. It was the spark the Terps needed to mount another second-half comeback, but ultimately not enough to retain the lead.

The Boilermakers shot 65.4 percent from the field, including 63.3 percent from downtown, in the first half, while Maryland could only manage 33.3 percent.

Maryland’s run continued into the second half, as the Terps scored seven unanswered points, capped with a Kevin Huerter three-pointer to take the lead at 44-43 a minute and a half in. But that was the last Maryland basket until Nickens hit a corner three four minutes later.

Purdue responded with an 11-0 run of its own to go up 54-44. During the run, Mark Turgeon got a technical foul for arguing an apparent phantom foul call on Michal Cekovsky, who picked up his second and third fouls in less than two minutes.

Over eight minutes into the half, both teams were in the bonus, and Maryland only trailed by six, though it felt like a lot more. Just as quickly as the Terps were able to cut the lead to two, Purdue was able to reopen a seven-point lead. Haas went down with an right knee injury with eight minutes left, but returned a few minutes later and dominated on both ends to give the Boilermakers a lead as large as nine.

Still, Maryland chipped away. Cowan’s four-point play in the final minute made it 76-72, and his and-one on the next possession made it 78-75. The Terps got a steal and had a chance to tie, but Nickens’ shot came up short.

The Terps are back in action Sunday on the road against Illinois at 8 p.m. on BTN.

Three things to know

1. This team won’t quit. As young as they are, it would have been easy for the Terps to fold down 14 just 10 minutes into the game. They didn’t and fought back to take the lead early in the second half. When Purdue led by nine late in the game, Maryland stormed back to cut it to three. The charge fell short, but the Terps gave themselves a chance.

2. Kevin Huerter is alive. After looking lost at times early this season, the sophomore showed up when the Terps needed him Friday night, scoring 19 points and keeping his team in the game. He and Cowan each played 37 minutes and hit four threes, and Maryland needed all of that production.

3. A familiar duo hurt the Terps. Haas and Mathias combined for 41 of Purdue’s 80 points. The Boilermakers had no bench points the entire game, with only four shots taken by the unit.