On Saturday Maryland suffered a heartbreaking 73-72 loss to Purdue at home. The game was being advertised as one of the biggest in Big Ten conference play so far this season. The matchup of #23 Purdue vs #17 Maryland was exciting enough, but this also marked the Terps’ first game against a ranked opponent this season.
After playing four of their last five on the road, Maryland was just happy to be home for their biggest matchup of the season so far. The stakes were high but Maryland came out ready to play in front of a sellout crowd in College Park. The Terps jumped out to an early 11-2 lead on the shoulders of some impressive inside play from Damonte Dodd. Purdue didn’t help their own cause either, with a handful of turnovers.
The Boilermakers would not be held down for very long, climbing back into the game on the shoulders of their sophomore playmaker, Caleb Swanigan. While Purdue did not make a three point shot until the seven minute mark, they still found themselves within one possession for much of the first half. The Boilermakers even took the lead at one point and only found themselves down by two at the break.
The second half started with another Maryland run. This 16-6 start gave the Terps their first double digit lead of the game but once again Purdue was able to come back and make it a one possession game. Like many of Maryland’s games this season, the terps battled their opponent down the stretch with neither team taking a significant lead.
Maryland did a good job spreading the ball around for most of the game, but in crunch time it was all about Melo Trimble. By driving to the basket and forcing contact, Trimble was able to send himself to the line multiple times. Over the final seven and a half minutes of the game, Maryland went without a field goal. The foul shots were going down for Maryland but you cannot win on that alone. Trimble finished the game with 22 points, 14 of which came from the free throw line.
With under a minute to play, Caleb Swanigan fouled out of the game and Purdue was on the ropes. With a three point lead, Maryland just needed to hold the ball as long as possible and take their fouls shots. Instead, the Terps took a shot too early and missed. Isaac Haas was fouled on the ensuing possession and cut the Maryland lead to just one.
This mistake certainly added more tension but did not lose the game for Maryland, as they still held the lead with even less time on the clock. The problem was that they made the same mistake twice. Once again the Terps failed to utilize the game plan that got them to this point in the game and shot too early. Purdue grabbed the rebound with six seconds to play and shot at the win.
As the clock ticked away, Justin Jackson committed an unnecessary foul and sent the Boilermakers to the line with a shot to win. Freshman Carsen Edwards sunk both free throws and gave Purdue a 73-72 lead with two seconds to play.
The Terps needed a miracle but Kevin Huerter’s inbound pass was too high, resulting in an easy turnover for Isaac Haas of Purdue. However, Haas made the mistake of walking with the ball, thinking the game was over. This happens quite often in basketball but is rarely called. This time the refs decided that there was enough time left on the clock to justify the travel call. Maryland had one last shot to steal the victory from Purdue with half a second left on the clock.
The Terps inbounded from the baseline and looked for Melo Trimble. To no surprise, he was double covered. Jackson was the next option, but he couldn’t get open either. This left Kevin Huerter somewhat open for a shot. He got it off before the buzzer, but the ball bounced off the rim and the Boilermakers rushed the court in celebration.
The loss will likely result in Maryland dropping in the rankings come Monday. Their #17 placement was partially built on potential considering they had not played a Top 25 opponent until Saturday. With that being said, they will not fall out of the rankings entirely and there are still games to be played against ranked teams like Wisconsin and North Western.