The beginning of November was a good time to be a Terps fan.
Maryland started the season 5-0 with some impressive wins on its resume. The Terps scored 96 points in the home opener against Maryland Eastern Shore, handled Butler 79-65 and pulled out a last-minute victory against Bucknell.
The past week, however, has not been as memorable. With two-point losses to St. Bonaventure and Syracuse, Maryland has lost two of its last three games. The Terps’ 61 points against St. Bonaventure and 70 points against Syracuse were the lowest output the offense produced all year. Turnovers — an issue that has plagued Maryland for much of the season — also played a pivotal role in those losses.
Maryland has a chance to fix its issues, though, as it begins conference play in the Big Ten with a home game against Purdue on Friday night.
Purdue (6-2) has shown it can win statement games against ranked opponents. The Boilermakers travelled back to its home arena after playing in the Battle 4 Atlantis Tournament and beat No. 17 Louisville 66-57.
Despite shooting just 5-of-23 against the Cardinals, Purdue erupted in the second half with 43 points to hold off Louisville, most of which came in the second half; it shot 4-of-7 in the final minutes of the game to keep its lead.
The Boilermakers have persistent players that have proven they can play through bad shooting performances and win games. Carsen Edwards shot just 2-of-11 from the field against Louisville, but he finished with 13 points due to shooting 9-of-11 from the free throw line.
Maryland will have to prepare for Vincent Edwards, who led Purdue in scoring with 15 points. While many of the Boilermakers were having off nights, Edwards shot 50 percent and made all of his free throws. Although he picked up his fourth foul of the game with just eight minutes left, he had six points in that stretch.
In order to get back to consistently winning games, Maryland will have to focus more on itself and fixing its problems. The Terps have either led or tied in turnovers in every game so far this season. They had 18 against Syracuse, including two on back-to-back possessions in the final minute.
Kevin Huerter had one of the best shooting performances of his career against Syracuse with 23 points that mainly came from seven 3-pointers. The Terps will need more of that against Purdue, but they will also need bigger performances from Justin Jackson, who finished with eight points, and Michal Cekovsky, who had two points.
Unlike previous years, Maryland has a wealth of size at its disposal. Cekovsky, Bruno Fernando and Sean Obi all stand above 6-foot-8. If Maryland can use that size to dominate the post like it does in rebounding, Maryland has a chance to fix whatever issues they have and get back to winning.
Tipoff against Purdue will be at 7 p.m. at the Xfinity Center.
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