The Maryland men’s basketball team used a strong first half performance to beat Purdue 57-50 on Saturday afternoon, remaining undefeated at home.
“We needed a win,” Terps’ Coach Mark Turgeon said. “That showed you a little bit about our guys, the way we came out, started the game and played terrific.”
The No. 17 Terps (14-4, 4-3 Big Ten) were lights out at the start of the game and avoided their typical slow starts. Maryland jumped out to a 28-10 lead and shot efficiently from the three-point line.
Maryland finished the first half shooting 53.8% from the floor and went 7-15 from behind the arc. The Terps couldn’t generate the same offensive success in the second half, as Purdue’s rigid defense kept Maryland off balance.
Maryland missed all nine three-point attempts, while shooting under 30% from the floor.
Purdue used Maryland’s offensive woes to its advantage, trimming the deficit to 53-50 with less than four minutes to go in the game.
However, the Terps were able to hold off the Boilermakers’ comeback with their defense.
“Our defense was outstanding,” Turgeon said. “We couldn’t make shots in the second half, that’s kind of what happens to us, but we kept guarding and didn’t let it affect our defense today so we ended up figuring out how to win.”
Terps’ forward Jalen Smith had a big man, as he outperformed Purdue’s Trevion Williams and Matt Haarms. Smith tallied 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
1. For the second straight game, Terps guard Aaron Wiggins proved that coming off the bench does wonders for him. Wiggins tallied 12 points and six rebounds, while knocking down a pair of three pointers. Wiggins got the crowd on their feet per usual when he drove to the rim and delivered a posterizing one-handed slam during the final two minutes of the first half.
2. It didn’t take long for freshman Donta Scott to top his career high of nine points, which he did twice this season. Scott 11 of his 13 points in the first half. Scott hit a pair of three pointers that helped the Terps jump out to a 28-10 lead.
“He is much more effective when he is making shots because he becomes a dual threat,” Scott said. “We all know defensively he is going to give all he has when it comes to rebounding and making the right plays. When he is hitting those open shots it makes him more of a threat and it opens the court up a little for everybody else.”
3. Senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr., the Terps’ leading scorer, wasn’t scoring like he normally does, registering five points on 1-8 shooting. Cowan made up for the shooting slump by running the offense and distributing the ball effectively, as he had seven assists.
“He scored five points and we won,” Turgeon said. “He does what it takes to win. Their pressure was bothering us getting into our half-court offense and he really kind of eased that a little bit.”
4. The second half turned into a battle between both team’s defenses, as offensive consistency was at a minimum. Purdue held Maryland scoreless for over three minutes at one point in the second half, which allowed the Boilermakers to cut their deficit to single digits.
Smith did a solid job containing Haarms and Williams, as they combined to score 12 points on 6-14 shooting. Maryland managed to hold Purdue scoreless during the final six minutes of the game.