The Maryland Terrapins had their best win of the season three games ago over No. 3 Iowa, but only squeaked past Ohio State and Nebraska on the road. The Terps might be ranked No. 4 and No. 3 in the AP and USA Today’s Coaches Polls, respectively, but have gotten little love from bracketologists like Joe Lunardi. Today they had a chance to improve their greatest weakness is the eyes of the committee, quality wins. Despite Purdue leading with six minutes left in the game, Maryland hit them with their best shot to the tune of a 25-10 run to end the game. The transfers, Rasheed Sulaimon and Robert Carter Jr., were terrific again by combining for 40 points and 17 rebounds.
Good start for the Terps in front of capacity crowd
After an early A.J. Hammons dunk to start the game, the Terps rattled off an 18-8 extended run to get this game started. Robert Carter Jr. tied his career-high with four 3-pointers in the game including two within the game’s first four minutes. Couple that with Purdue’s 5 of 16 shooting from the field to start the game and Maryland seemed to be in total control. After struggling to put teams away early but getting off to slow starts, the Terrapins have done a better job getting in the first punch of heavyweight battles.
Like all good teams do, Purdue makes a run
The Boilermakers are the No. 18 team in the country for a reason. They have three of the most talented big mans in the country with Caleb Swanigan, A.J. Hammons, and Isaac Haas. During an otherwise awful shooting performance from beyond the arc, Purdue connected on back-to-back deep ones that help start a 10-0 run. Maryland settling for jump shots and then missing “bunny”, chip, shots were the reason for shift in momentum after starting 5 of 7 from the field. After Mark Turgeon called a timeout with under eight minutes to play in the half, both sides exchanged blows before Purdue headed into halftime up 30-27.
Freezing cold shooting from beyond the arc dooms the Boilermakers
Despite the back-to-back 3-pointers that sparked Purdue’s 10-0 run in the middle of the first half, the 18th ranked team in the country made just three the entire game. The last of which was during garbage time when they were fouling to extend the game. Although the Terps only hit four three-balls of their own, Purdue’s 3 of 25 shooting from beyond the arc cost them the game. As a result of settling for the jump shots, Purdue only got to the free throw line five times compared to the 27 for the aggressive Terps.
For the 26th time in a row, Maryland finishes strong at home
The win over Iowa was doubly-special because the Terps hit the quarter-century mark in consecutive homes wins, but the 26th was just as good against Purdue. Over the final six minutes of the game, Maryland went on a 25-10 run to continue to come out ahead in close games. Head coach Mark Turgeon explained that he stopped overcoaching after not being “great” today. Down the his last timeout Mark Turgeon thought against spending it when Purdue matched their largest lead of the game, 4, with a quick 5-0 run. Instead the Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter Jr. hit a huge three-pointer to immediately answer Purdue. A momentum changing play, which got the fans back in it, started a 9-0 run and the Terps never looked back.
Melo Trimble is a “good player” even when he is not scoring
Purdue’s head coach Matt Painter, a former guard in his own right, said that the Bob Cousy finalist is a good player even when shooting 2 of 12 from the field. His ability to get others involved, seven assists, or draw contact, ten points from the charity stripe, allow him to help his teams even when his jumper is not on point. Last year Trimble looked at points scored first when getting the stats sheet; in his sophomore season he looks at it third after assists and turnovers. Carter believes that since it is all about winning, it makes sense that Trimble is contempt with not pouring in twenty every night.
The middle game of Maryland’s three-game home stand will be a non-conference bout against mid-major Bowie State on Tuesday night. Then the Terps will be in store for a rematch against the Wisconsin Badgers next Saturday.