Maryland basketball found another gear on both ends of the floor in the second half Tuesday night, turning an eight-point halftime deficit into a 70-56 win over No. 12 Purdue in College Park.
The No. 24 Terps fell behind early and didn’t lead until midway through the second half, despite tying the game at multiple points. But when the Terps finally took the lead, they kept their foot on the gas. Purdue, meanwhile, couldn’t get anything going as its eight-game winning streak crashed down. Maryland outscored Purdue a mind-numbing 40-18 in the final 20 minutes.
It was a balanced scoring effort for Maryland, who didn’t get much from star center Bruno Fernando for most of the game, although the sophomore center rallied late to finish with a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double. He joined four other Terps in double figures, led by freshman Jalen Smith, who overcame a miserable start to shoot 7-of-15 and tally 16 points. Eric Ayala stayed hot with 15, while Anthony Cowan Jr. and Aaron Wiggins added 12 and 11, respectively.
Carsen Edwards was dominant early for the Boilermakers, pouring in 17 first-half points. But he and Purdue’s entire offense went quiet in the second half, as the team shot just 17 percent from the field after intermission. Edwards finished with 24, while none of his teammates finished in double digits.
Purdue and Maryland tied on the glass with 41 rebounds each, though Purdue held a 17-5 advantage on the offensive boards. The Boilermakers turned those extra opportunities into just 11 second-chance points, while Maryland had seven on five offensive rebounds.
Maryland missed its first seven shots and didn’t score for the first 4:44 of game time, but Purdue only took a 5-0 lead in that span. The Terps quickly rallied to tie the score at 10, only for Purdue to follow with a 13-4 run and open up a nine-point advantage. After the lead reached 32-21 at the 3:28 mark on an Edwards steal-and-slam, Maryland answered with a 9-1 run to trim it to three. But the Boilermakers scored the final five points of the half, and Cline’s triple gave them a 38-30 advantage entering the locker room.
Edwards led all scorers with 17 at the break, with Cline chipping in nine. Ayala and Cowan had nine and eight for the Terps, respectively, while Fernando attempted just one field goal (an alley-oop from Darryl Morsell over 14 minutes in).
The Terps started the second half hot, going on a 10-2 run and tying the game on a Smith slam shortly after Purdue called timeout. The Boilermakers responded with an 8-2 run of their own, but Ayala knocked down a three from each corner to even the score at 48. A Cowan-to-Smith alley-oop then gave Maryland its first lead at the 10:14 mark. Wiggins and Smith helped build the lead to five, then Fernando snapped a streak of 21 straight points by freshmen with ... this.
Matt Haarms is 7'3 and Bruno Fernando just put him in a BODYBAG. pic.twitter.com/jw36tVXDqj— Justin Fitzgerald (@jfitzgerald52) February 13, 2019
Purdue could never get back into it, as the Boilermakers’ shooting slump continued all the way to the buzzer. They didn’t make a shot in the last 4:15 and missed 12 of their final 13 attempts overall. In all, Maryland closed on a 20-6 run.
Things don’t get easier, though, as the Terps visit No. 6 Michigan on Saturday at noon ET.
Three things to know
1. The freshmen stepped up. Purdue limited Fernando for much of the game, but the rookies were impressive in his absence. Ayala continued a strong run of play, scoring 15. Wiggins was an efficient 4-of-6 from the field for 11 points in just 16 minutes. And Smith missed his first five shots but made seven of his last 10 to finish as Maryland’s leading scorer with 16. That’s 42 of the team’s 70 points from the trio.
2. The defense was impressive almost all night. Edwards made some incredible shots in the first half, and Purdue cashed in on some open jumpers. But the Terps gave up nothing easy in the second half, holding Purdue to 6-of-36 shooting overall and 1-of-16 from three. Morsell in particular was all over Edwards as the Big Ten’s leading scorer struggled down the stretch. It’s the third straight win in which Maryland’s opponent has gone completely silent offensively. At some point, it’s a trend.
3. Offensive rebounding almost changed the outcome. The Boilermakers’ 17 offensive rebounds are by far the most anyone has nabbed against Maryland this season, but they couldn’t take advantage, holding just an 11-7 lead in second-chance points. Despite struggling on the glass, Maryland’s bigs were solid inside, swatting eight shots and holding Purdue to 20 points in the paint.