Maryland’s NCAA Tournament dreams were essentially dashed Wednesday night when they traveled to play Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana, and its season is now in free fall.
Despite 20 points and 10 rebounds from freshman Bruno Fernando, the Terps dropped their third straight game and their sixth-in-eight games, to the Boilermakers, 75-67.
Senior center Isaac Haas had a double-digit night against Maryland, finishing the game with 20 points and leading his team to shoot nearly 45 percent from the floor. Haas was one of three Purdue (22-2,11-0) players to finish with at least 10 points, including sophomore guard Carson Edwards, who scored 17 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
For the second straight game, Maryland (15-9, 4-7) put forth an impressive effort against a Top-10 team but failed to finish in the second half. Maryland cut Purdue’s lead down to single digits five times, including three consecutive 3-pointers from sophomore wing Kevin Huerter that made the score 55-52 with less than 10 minutes left to play.
Maryland’s three-game conference losing streak is the team’s longest since Feb. 19-25 in the 2016-17 season when it lost to Minnesota, Iowa and Rutgers.
Huerter finished the game with 16 points, shooting 40 percent from the 3-point line. Sophomore point guard Anthony Cowan added 11 points with eight assists while freshman guard Darryl Morsell scored 13.
Purdue didn’t waste any time jumping out to a lead, scoring the game’s first nine points. Maryland was then forced to play catch up, but the team hit just three baskets in the first 12 minutes.
A pair of free throws from Edwards doubled up the score 18-9, and soon Maryland found itself down 21-9 following a three from Nojel Eastern. The Boilermakers entered halftime with a a 35-24 lead.
Maryland began to fight back in the second half, though. An and-one basket by Fernando ignited Maryland’s offense. Then, Fernando scored the next three points for Maryland, allowing it to chip Purdue’s lead down to six.
After Huerter’s three 3-pointers, Purdue went on a 7-0 run that ended with a dunk from Haas that put Purdue up 62-52. Despite Maryland chipping away at the lead, Purdue withheld the lead for the remainder of the game.
Purdue has now won 18 straight games dating back to Nov. 24 when it upset then-No. 2 Arizona.
Maryland will be back at home in the Xfinity Center on Sunday to play Wisconsin. Wisconsin is behind Maryland in the Big Ten standings and has also lost its last three games. Tipoff will be at 1 p.m.
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