Maryland sophomore forward Bruno Fernando (23) blocks out a Penn State player to go to net in Maryland’s 66-59 victory at home, Dec. 1. (Emily Morina/ The Left Bench)

Terps struggle down the stretch, fall to Purdue 62-60

In its first Big Ten road game of the season, Maryland (7-2, 1-1) wasn’t able to stave off Purdue’s (6-3, 1-1) come back, eventually losing to the Boilermakers 62-60 in a game filled with turnovers and poor offensive possessions for the Terps.

Maryland carried a 34-30 lead into the halftime break, but 17 turnovers allowed Purdue to climb back into the game and take a 46-45 lead with 13:29 left in the second half.

From that point on, the Terps were trading baskets with the Boilermakers through the final minutes of the second half until Purdue’s Matt Haarms scored to make it 59-54 and give Purdue a two-possession lead with 5:18 left.

Maryland seemed to panic after that moment and failed to really get anything done on offense in the closing minutes of their first real road test of the season.

Despite the lack of offensive flow, Maryland hung around long enough for one final shot to tie the game up or take the lead after Anthony Cowan Jr. missed a free throw and the ball went out of bounds, off of Purdue with two seconds left.

Maryland tried to look for the lob to Bruno Fernando, but Purdue had it covered so the Terps had to inbound it to Cowan. The possible game-winner was blocked Purdue’s Nojel Eastern and Purdue held on to give the Terps their first loss in the Big Ten this season.

The Terps started off hot tonight, jumping out to an 18-10 lead seven minutes into the game. Then the turnovers started plaguing the Terps and Purdue began steadily climbing back into the game until they were only down four at halftime.

Both teams made nine three pointers tonight, with Maryland attempting 27 and Purdue with 26, but the difference tonight was Purdue’s ability to execute in the final minutes and Maryland’s failure to.

Three times within the final minutes of the game, Cowan had to put up a contested three with the shot clock winding down, either airballing it or having it blocked.

The Terps seemed out of rhythm and could never really find their stride down the closing minutes of the game.

This can be expected from a young team in their first real road game of the year in a hostile environment, but Maryland has to find some consistency on offense if they want to be able to compete in the Big Ten this year.

Maryland out-rebounded Purdue 39-29, which is something the Terps are used to this year, coming in second in the nation in rebound margin.

Purdue’s Carson Edwards led all scorers tonight with 20 points while Cowan led Maryland with 18 points, six assists and five rebounds tonight.

Fernando was one point away from his fourth double-double of the season, scoring nine points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Freshman Aaron Wiggins provided a strong spark off the bench, scoring nine points, but he was the only freshman to really make an impact against Purdue. Starting freshmen Eric Ayala and Jalen Smith only combined for nine points, a duo that has been averaging 21.7 points so far this season.

Maryland now has a quick turnaround as they face one team from last year’s Final Four, Loyola (IL), on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.