Dominant Second Half Performance Leads Maryland to Convincing Home Win Over Purdue
Tonight marked the second meeting of the season between the Purdue Boilmakers and the Maryland Terrapins basketball team. Maryland lost a heartbreaker to Purdue back on December 6th in West Lafayette, Indiana. In College Park tonight, it was a different story as the #24 Terrapins took down the #14 Boilmakers 70-56 on their home court.
The Terps came out of the gate seemingly flat, falling to a 5-0 deficit in the first 5 minutes off 0 of 7 shooting from the floor. While their shots eventually began to fall, they seemed to have no answer for Carson Edwards and the Boilmakers in the first half. Purdue clearly came into the game prepared to cover their lack of size down low by pulling out Maryland’s big men from the paint and rendering them ineffective. Poor shot selection, turnovers, and an inability to be physical in the paint left Maryland down 8 at half.
The second half, on the other hand, was when Maryland truly found their stride. Ball movement was key, as Maryland was able to overcome double teams by spinning the ball to the open guy and finding easy baskets. Maryland finished the game with a whopping 17 assists compared to Purdue’s measly 5. All 11 points off the bench came from Aaron Wiggins, who shot 4 of 6 from the field and brought confidence to the Terps offense just when they needed it. Eric Ayala, who has seen recent success from settling into more of a point guard role, was another large part of this victory, finishing with 15 points.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Maryland win without a dominating performance from the big man, Bruno Fernando. After finishing the first half with only three points, his strength and size proved far too much for Harms and Williams in the second half, who each got into foul trouble. Menacing dunks and dominance on the boards lead him to a double double, his 7th in a row! Fernando wasn’t the only big man to come alive in the second half, as Jalen Smith finished with 16 points.
Whatever shots Purdue made in the first half simply did not fall in the second half. The team finished the game 20 of 71 from the floor and 7 of 33 from behind the arc. The game was clearly a tale of two halves.
Maryland looks to build off this win as they head to Ann Arbor for a Saturday matchup at noon with the #6 ranked Wolverines, likely their biggest test of the season.