Road games continue to be a burden for the Maryland men’s basketball team after losing to Wisconsin on a last second three-pointer. The Terps return to College Park, where they support an undefeated record, to face Purdue on Saturday afternoon.
Purdue hasn’t shied away from ranked opponents this season, as the Boilermakers have defeated three teams in the Top 25. Purdue steamrolled past fifth ranked Virginia and did the same thing recently to Michigan State.
Purdue shares a few similarities with Maryland. Both teams are inconsistent offensively, but makes up for it on the defensive end. The Boilermakers have held opponents to 59.6 on 39% shooting while forcing 14.5 turnovers through 17 games.
Purdue is led by its dominant front court presence, sophomore Trevion Williams and Matt Haarms. Williams is averaging 11.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 forward’s big game of the year came in a double overtime loss to Michigan where he registered 36 points and 20 rebounds.
“He’s very skilled and smart,” Turgeon said of Williams. “His game has expanded and he’s more experienced. He makes it tough.”
Haarms, the 7-foot-3 center from the Netherlands, has registered 10.4 points per game while ranking second in the Big Ten in blocks (2.2).
Turnovers and late game decision making was the deciding factor in the heartbreaking turnout against Wisconsin. Despite the loss, Maryland had its best offensive outing on the road, shooting 40% from the floor. Terps’ guard Aaron Wiggins finally bounced back after weeks of struggle, tallying 13 points and five rebounds off the bench.
“It hits the back of your head when you’re not having the season you’ve expected in terms of shooting,” Wiggins said. “You can’t let that one thing affect your head. I’ve prepared myself to do everything else the best I can even if my shot isn’t falling.”
Turgeon plans to have Wiggins come off the bench against Purdue.
Maryland sophomore guard Eric Ayala is still searching for his rhythm, as he only scored two points on 1-4 shooting.
“It’s a mindset on his part,” Turgeon said. “We sat and talked to him about those things. Our guys want him to score.”