Saturday, May 26, 2018

Fingers were crossed and good luck charms were out for the Terrapins as they entered the Mackey Arena Wednesday night.  One might have thought that Bruno Fernando’s double-double, 20 points, and 10 rebounds, would have handed the Terps a victory against the Boilermakers. Sadly, that was not the case.

Purdue (22-2, 11-0) clinched the victory against Maryland (15-9, 4-7) 75-67, as Maryland tried to fight for the lead and their NCAA tournament spot. With the Boilermaker’s 290 pound center, Isaac Haas, scoring 20 points and guard Carsen Edwards scoring another 17 points. The game was over for the Terps before it began.

The epic comeback from the Terps the last time they battled Purdue, on December 1st, showed the viewers how determined the Maryland men are. At that time, the Boilermakers were not ranked and held a record of 6-2, but ended up beating the Terps 80-75.  Since then, Purdue rose to the No. 3 spot and has an overall record of 22-2, their best conference start in school’s history, with a new record of 21 straight home game wins of the season.

Photo Courtesy of Dalani Young from The Exponent 

Within the first five minutes in the first half, the hunger for the victory between each team was in full stride.  Purdue won the jump ball, which then transitioned into senior Haas to score the first two points of the night. Maryland’s rebounding was strong in the beginning but was not efficient enough to hold their own, due to many turnovers and missed shots.

“We were a little out of it early,” Coach Mark Turgeon told The Diamondback reporter.  “A lot of that had to do with Purdue.  Their defense is terrific, and the building.”

The Boilermakers allowed Maryland to only have three baskets within the first 12 minutes of the game.  After an assist from freshman guard Darryl Morsell, Maryland’s Anthony Cowan scored two of his eleven points. Giving the Terps a chance to come back.

The Terps closed the first half with the score being 24-35 in hopes to regain their rhythm returning from halftime.

Initially, Maryland’s aggression showed the first five minutes of the second half: winning the jump ball and giving Fernando his highlight dunk of the night.

Photo Courtesy of Dalani Young from The Exponent    

It seemed as though Fernando’s ankle injury last game against Indiana would have kept him on the sideline for a short amount of time, but it was no obstacle for the freshman forward.  Gaining his second career double-double, he continues to progress as the season wears down.

The Terps were back on track with Huerter hitting consecutive three’s closing Maryland’s gap to a score of 52-55 with less than 10 minutes on the clock. But Purdue’s offense was clicking Wednesday night. Purdue’s advantage over Maryland was the ability to swiftly and effectively move the ball through the course of the game offensively.  The four returning players on the team understood each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They were able to pick up the slack of a teammate, which led them to their 18th consecutive win of the season.

It’s been a long and disappointing road for the Terps losing their fifth out of the last seven games. Maryland is now down to eight scholarship players. With Michal Cekovsky out for a left heel injury, the Terps frontcourt is not as strong. Their chances of an NCAA tournament appearance are looking thin considering the past three weeks. Maryland continues to fight, with their next opponent being Wisconsin on Sunday, February 4 at the Xfinity Center.

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