In a rematch of the season’s conference opener, Maryland men’s basketball will get another shot at Purdue (21-2, 10-0 Big Ten) on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. on BTN.
After a close loss to the Michigan State at home on Jan. 28, the Terps have fallen to ninth in the conference and opportunities to build a tournament-worthy resume have mostly passed. The Boilermakers are the best team in the conference and riding the NCAA’s longest winning streak at the moment. Maryland’s enters the lion’s den of a top-five team in the nation in the midst of a four game road losing stretch and have lost five of its last seven.
Here’s the preview from the first time these teams met.
What happened last time
These teams opened up Big Ten play in College Park, and while Maryland would have its chances, the Boilermakers left town with a 80-75 win.
Purdue stormed out the gates and held a 14-point first half lead, and while the Terps went on a run to get back in it, they couldn’t complete the comeback. Maryland had no answers for Isaac Haas or Dakota Mathias, who combined for 41 of Purdue’s 80 points. All five of Matt Painter’s starters would actually finish in double figures, and Purdue would win without a single bench point.
Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter combined for 39 points of their own, but Cowan’s team-high 20 points includes seven points in crunch time as he tried to spearhead one last Maryland comeback. While Justin Jackson was still playing at the time, he only added five points in the loss, while freshman Darryl Morsell went 3-of-16 for nine points in his first Big Ten game.
What’s happened since
Heading into the first matchup, both teams were 6-2, and Maryland was still in position to decide its own destiny in the Big Ten. After the loss, the Terps took a seven-game winning streak through the New Year, but lost Jackson and Ivan Bender for the season to injuries in the process. Since a blowout loss at Michigan State on Jan. 4, the Terps are just 2-5, and are just 1-5 on the season in true road games.
Purdue’s win over Maryland was its third in a row; that winning streak is now at a current NCAA-best 17 straight. Carsen Edwards has stepped up in his sophomore season to lead Purdue in scoring with 16.7 points a game, while senior Vince Edwards has been an all-around presence, posting a team-high 7.7 rebounds a game along 15.7 points and 2.8 assists.
Three things to watch
- Can Maryland run the Boilermakers off the arc? Purdue has been lights out from deep this season and are second in Division I basketball with a 43.6 percent shooting clip from three-point land. In the first meeting, Purdue went 9-of-20 behind the arc to keep Maryland at bay. The Terps hit 10 in that game, but on 28 attempts at a 35.7 percent clip.
- Do the Maryland big men stay out of foul trouble? Haas was a problem during the first matchup in College Park, and had 26 points in Purdue’s Jan. 28 win over Indiana. Bruno Fernando and Michal Cekovsky will surely share the assignment, but have struggled with foul trouble recently. The rebounding battle for the first match was dead even, with both teams grabbing 33, while the Terps had Jackson and Bender. If Fernando and Cekovsky get whistled for some fouls early, there’s not much size left to stop Haas in the paint or grab boards.
- Can Maryland win one on the road? The Terps have had a rough go on the road this season, and missed a golden opportunity to start to right the ship when they lost to Indiana in Assembly Hall. Maryland has failed to show up on the road thus far, and taking out a top-five team in its building isn’t something you figure out overnight. The Terps will need a team effort to keep this one close.