Purdue battled Maryland for a 58-55 victory this afternoon in Mackey Arena. The win keeps Purdue on top of the Big10 with an 8-1 conference record (19-1 overall) and pushes the Terps further down the table with a 3-5 Big10 record (12-7 overall).
This looked like a run away Purdue victory in the first half. The Boilermakers came out hot, featuring a balanced inside-out attack. A David Jenkins 3 at the 10:52 mark of the first half gave the Boilermakers a 25-9 advantage. Maryland, despite wobbling, refused to go down, and managed to get their legs underneath them in the last 10 minutes of the second half. Julian Reese got going on the inside, and Zach Edey had a hard time with the agile big man. What looked like a runaway ended with Purdue taking a 35-21 lead into half. Matt Painter’s team was still in firm control of the game, but they failed to deliver the knockout punch.
The second half was all Maryland. Kevin Willard went to a trapping zone press, and an active zone in the half court. Purdue couldn’t figure out how to attack. They started the half on a 7-0 run before a Zach Edey dunk got the Boilermakers off the schneid at the 17:55 mark of the 2nd half, making the score 28-36. The next 7 minutes saw Maryland and Purdue play straight up. Zach Edey’s layup at the 10:12 mark gave Purdue a 37-46 lead heading into the final 10 minutes of the game.
Jahmir Young and Julian Reese led a Maryland comeback down the stretch, contributing 10 of the Terps 18 points down the stretch, meanwhile Purdue went ice cold from the field. Even Zach Edey wasn’t immune, missing a couple sure things around the hoop and throwing the ball away out of a double team. Maryland cut the lead to 51-54 before two Braden Smith free throws pushed the Purdue lead to 56-51 at the 4 minute mark. The Boilermakers would only manage two more points the rest of the game. Fortunately, Maryland couldn’t manage to hit shots when it mattered, despite a couple good looks from 3 that would have tied the game.
With the clock running down, Matt Painter elected to foul Jahmir Young instead of giving Maryland a chance to tie the ball with a 3. Young hit both his fouls shots, cutting the lead to 1 with 5 seconds remaining. Braden Smith managed to shake free and grab the in-bounds pass, drawing the immediate foul. He stepped to the line with 3 seconds remaining and knocked down both free throws to ensure Purdue overtime at the worst. Young missed a rushed 3 and Matt Painter and company walked away with a hard fought victory on an off day.
If you’re going to win the Big10, you need to win games when you don’t play well. This was one of those games from Purdue.