Welcome to the Testudo Times film room. In a Tuesday night thriller, Maryland pulled off another win over a ranked team in the Big Ten. This time, the Terps defeated No. 24 Purdue, 61-60, to pick up their first conference win at home this season and their fourth win over a ranked opponent.
In many of these victories, the theme has been the terrific effort on the defensive end. That was no different against the Boilermakers as Maryland put on a defensive clinic for much of the game, holding Purdue to 10 points below its season average. In the Terps’ four Big Ten wins this season, they are holding opponents to 58.7 points per game. In Maryland’s seven Big Ten losses this season, it has given up 75.9 points per game.
Maryland’s offense has been incredibly inconsistent throughout the season, but when the team is locked in defensively, executing the game plan and showing undeniable effort, it will have a chance, even though it’s often undersized against Big Ten opponents.
While Maryland’s offense struggled for much of the game against Purdue, it was a tale of two halves shooting the ball from long distance. Maryland shot just 1-for-12 from deep in the first half, but flipped that around in the second half, hitting on eight of its 13 attempts.
Let’s dive into the film to examine how Maryland pulled off the win.
Phenomenal defense led the way for the Terps
The Terps forced Purdue to turn the ball over 15 times and many of those takeaways led to fast break points. While Maryland had a difficult time containing Purdue star forward Trevion Williams, who finished with 23 points and 11 boards, the team rotated well and brought the energy to that side of the floor.
Galin Smith forces Purdue’s guard to pick up his dribble. With the Boilermaker out of options, Donta Scott reads his eyes and jumps into the passing lane to intercept the pass. Scott gets a tip on the pass intended for the top of the key, tracks down the 50/50 ball and finishes a layup at the other end.
Jairus Hamilton is screened on the right wing to initiate this play for Purdue. Because Hamilton is screened, he is a step behind his man. However, Hamilton does a terrific job of moving his feet, beating his man to the spot and cutting him off to prevent any further penetration.
This forces the Boilermaker to pick up his dribble with limited options. Morsell takes away the lane between the ball and his man. A pass is thrown into a tight window and Morsell picks it off.
This is a crucial possession down the stretch of the game where the Terps needed to come up with a stop. They did just that. Maryland’s crunch time defense was tremendous with a small-ball lineup where it switched everything.
Here, it’s late in the shot clock and Purdue settles for a deep three-pointer.
This was a couple of possessions later where Maryland, again, was in a situation where a defensive stop was critical. Aaron Wiggins is the primary defender and does a great job of staying in front of his man and refusing to let him turn the corner on his drive. Scott and Hakim Hart also come over to help, forcing Purdue’s guard into a difficult turn-around jumper.
While the defense was tremendous, the Terps seriously struggled on the glass. Head coach Mark Turgeon’s squad was out-rebounded, 33-24, and gave up 10 offensive boards. While they are almost always undersized in Big Ten matchups and constantly facing stronger, more physical big man, the Terps must improve their ability to box out as they continue to build a resume for a postseason bid.
Above are clips where Maryland fails to box out and gives up offensive boards. In all of these clips, there are a number of Terps around the basket, but they are either just watching the ball and jumping up hoping the rebound will come to them, or they put a body on a Purdue player, but don't properly check him out.
When the Terps face bigger opponents on the inside, they can't only check their man and go get the ball. They have to get low, physical and move them off their spot, which they struggled to do on Tuesday night.
Maryland went from ice cold to scorching hot from three
As noted earlier, Maryland shot the three ball poorly in the first half, but were much improved in the second half, led by junior Aaron Wiggins, who finished with 18 points and three second half threes.
The Terps have been a streaky three-point shooting team all season. While the second half three-point attempts may have been better looks, many of the attempts in the first half were open shots that just failed to see the bottom of the net.
Despite the distance, this is a pretty good look from Wiggins in the first half that doesn't fall.
This is an out of rhythm, contested step-back three from Wiggins. These were some of the shots he was attempting in the first half. In the latter half, he got help from his teammates creating open looks from distance.
Here, Wiggins acts like he is going to set a screen for Morsell, before Smith sets a screen on Wiggins man for him to curl back up, find some space and knock down the three with his man trailing.
This is a set Turgeon ran for Wiggins to be freed up to get an open three to tie the game. Eric Ayala hands the ball off to Scott on the left side of the floor. On the opposite side, Wiggins sets a down screen for Morsell and Smith comes over to make it look like a double screen.
Morsell comes off of Wiggins screen, but before he gets around Smith, he cuts to the rim. Smith then finds Wiggins man to screen, allowing Wiggins to break free and get an open three ball. Wiggins also does a great job of changing speed with his cut to create space.
Maryland allowed its veteran leaders to finish the job
Down the stretch, the Terps relied on their veteran leaders in Ayala and Morsell to secure the win on the offensive end.
Maryland is down five with just over two minutes to go, a must score situation for the Terps. Junior point guard Eric Ayala is running the show.
A big is switched on to him, so Ayala uses his handle to make something happen. Ayala has his defender on skates before stepping back and shot faking, making it seem as if he is going to launch. Morsell catches his defender ball watching and simply cuts backdoor. Ayala sees that and delivers a perfect pass to Morsell who finishes the basket.
Once again, the Terps go to the duo of Ayala and Morsell in a must score situation to make something happen. They run a pick-and-pop action that frees Morsell up for an open three on the wing, which he knocks down to cut the deficit to two.
This is the last offensive possession for the Terps and they trail by one. Turgeon had called a timeout prior to the play. To start, Morsell and Ayala run another pick-and-pop but nothing comes of it. It is hard to imagine this is the look Maryland had wanted where Ayala takes his defender one-one-one without a single pass thrown.
Nevertheless, Ayala does an excellent job of using his body and bullying a bigger defender to get to the hoop. He misses the first attempt, but is relentless and grabs the offensive board before he goes up again and gets fouled. Ayala was clutch at the line, as he nailed both attempts to lift the Terps over the Boilermakers at home.