The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team was back in College Park to open Big Ten conference play against the Purdue Boilermakers, and they were greeted by 17,308 cheering fans.
But the Boilermakers — led by senior center Isaac Haas and senior guard Dakota Mathias — weren’t rattled.
Haas has 21 points and Mathias had 20, as the Boilermakers handed Maryland its first loss in conference play, 80-75.
Haas and Mathias shot a combined 17-of-23, and despite some late heroics from Maryland sophomore Anthony Cowan, Purdue walked out of the Xfinity Center with its third straight win.
“I thought Purdue was really good,” said Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. “Haas and Mathias were terrific; their execution was terrific. … The speed of the game, on [defense], the way they ran their offense was too much for us.”
All five of Purdue’s starters scored in double figures. And they needed to, because the team’s bench didn’t score a point. Mathias, who was perfect in the first half, also added nine assists to just two turnovers.
“He can affect the game a couple of different ways, obviously with his shooting and…he is a good passer,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said of Mathias.
Maryland had three players finished with at least 12 points. Freshman Bruno Fernando had his second straight double-digit game with 12 points. Kevin Huerter continued to shine from the 3-point line since Maryland’s matchup against Syracuse with 19 points, including four 3-pointers.
And although Maryland cut its turnover margin down with just seven all game, the team as a whole struggled to shoot the basketball all night. The Terps took 63 shots against Purdue and made 22 of them for 34.9 percent.
“This one hurt,” Huerter said. “It’s on our home court. It was against a team that thought we could beat. It’s not big things. It’s little stuff every game. It seemed like we won almost every category, but we didn’t shoot it as well as they did. Sometimes it comes down to just making shots.”
Despite trailing for most of the game, Maryland found itself in a position to win with just 30 seconds left. After Purdue took a 76-68 lead, Cowan scored seven points to cut the Boilermakers’ lead to three points.
“To me, it’s amazing that we had a shot to tie it at the end,” Turgeon said. “It was just amazing — and we got a great look and that’s all you can ask.”
Purdue started the game with the lead, and they didn’t give it up for the entire half. After Fernando hit a jumper to make the score 13-10, Purdue went on a 10-run to make the score 23-10.
The Boilermakers kept a double-digit lead for most of the half, and they led by as many as 14 points.
Maryland finished the half strong, though, and outscored the Boilermakers 7-3 to cut Purdue’s lead 43-37 at the end of the first half.
Maryland continued to get hot when play resumed, and a 7-0 run gave Maryland its first and only lead of the night, 44-43.
Purdue quickly retook the lead with a with a jumper from Haas, and they held that lead for the remainder of the game.
Cowan brought Maryland back with less than a minute left in the game. He was fouled on a 3-pointer for a four-point play. One possession later, he was fouled again on a shot, and with a pair of free throws he cut Purdue’s lead to 78-75.
On one of the last possessions of the game, Maryland got the ball to Jared Nickens, who was open in the corner. Nickens shot missed, basically ending the game.
Huerter, who had made four 3-pointers, thought the shot should have gone to Nickens.
“I thought that they would expect the play to be run for me,” he said. “I don’t know what Jared is shooting on the year from three but he is shooting very well. We have a lot of confidence in Jared. I had no problem with the call and the execution that we had in the play.”
Maryland will travel to Champaign, Illinois, to play the Fighting Illini on Dec. 3. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.