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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 11:00 pm

Purdue 75, Maryland 67: Quick thoughts

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

Purdue's defense was stellar from the opening tip, forcing the Terrapins (15-9, 4-7 Big Ten) into six straight misses to start the game. Meanwhile, senior Isaac Haas scored a couple of quick baskets and Carsen Edwards drained a triple off a Haas ball screen. Just 3:31 into the game, the Boilermakers (22-2, 11-0 Big Ten) led 9-0 and they did not look back.

The closest Maryland (15-9, 4-7) got for the rest of the half was six points and Purdue (22-2, 11-0) led by as many as 15 at one juncture. The Black and Gold didn't shoot well (just 29 percent from 3-point range in the first half), but defense was the key to the lead.

After those six opening misses, Maryland never found the range and turned the ball over 11 times in the first half, leading to 14 Purdue points, while the Boilermakers only gave the ball away once. Despite not knocking down many shots, Purdue ran solid offense in the opening half and played as a unit defensively. It's on-ball defense on the perimeter was especially noteworthy, limiting opportunities for Maryland playmakers Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter.

Maryland cut the lead to just six early in the second half as Bruno Fernando had his best stretch of the game, scoring twice over Haas. An annoyed Haas called for the ball on the ensuing possession and scored easily, and Carsen Edwards followed with his second triple of the night to push the advantage back to 11.

Maryland wouldn't go away as the second half wore on, but Purdue always held a healthy lead. Haas sat down for a rest at one juncture and backup big man Matt Haarms stepped up with three baskets in a row, including a thunderous two-handed dunk after a drive to the hoop. The basket was part of a run of five straight shots that fell for Purdue, helping it stay comfortably in front.

The only real danger for the Boilers came near the midway point of the second half. Then, Huerter drilled triples on back-to-back possessions, including a silky smooth fadeaway in the corner. The second of those sliced the Purdue lead to just three at 55-52, the closest Maryland had been all night.

As it has for 18 straight games, though, Purdue answered the call. Haas got inside for a pair of free throws and PJ Thompson hit a huge 3. Then, Haas rolled to the basket and Vincent Edwards found him for a dunk. The crowd sensed danger averted and exploded.

Maryland never really went away, as Bruno Fernando kept scoring inside, but Purdue kept the visitors at bay and hung on in the final minutes for a school-record 18th win in a row.

Player of the Game: Isaac Haas

Haas made his first three shots then missed four in a row to end the first half. He found his range in the second half again, though, pouring in 12 points in the second session and finishing with 20 overall, to go along with nine rebounds. It was Haas' third straight 20-point game. Maryland again had no answer for him, especially with center Michal Cekovsky out with a left heel injury. 

Facts and Figures

Purdue led 35-24 at halftime; it has trailed just twice at halftime this season (including Sunday against Indiana). ... The Boilermakers' 13 straight Big Ten wins set a school record. ... Purdue's 21 consecutive home wins are the second-longest streak in the country. ... The Boilers swept the season series with Maryland and have beaten the Terps four straight times. ... Purdue was outrebounded for the fifth game in a row. ... The Boilermakers piled up a 17-7 advantage in points off turnovers. ... Fernando finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Terps; it's the first time he scored in double figures in six games and second 20-point effort of the season and second double-double.

What's Next?

The Boilermakers are back in action Saturday in Piscataway, N.J. to take on Rutgers (12-12, 2-9). The game will tip off at 4 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Rutgers brings up the rear in the Big Ten and has lost four games in a row, most recently 91-60 defeat Tuesday to Illinois. Junior guard Corey Sanders leads the Scarlet Knights with 13.5 points per game, but shoots just 38 percent from the field.