A year ago, Maryland fans rushed the court after a win over then-No. 3 Purdue. They stumbled over courtside seats and each other to celebrate the Terps’ first win against a top-five opponent since 2016 with players on the Xfinity Center court.
On Tuesday, with Maryland men’s basketball facing the same opponent, fans headed in the opposite direction as the final horn sounded. The Terps couldn’t repeat last year’s upset in a 67-53 loss to No. 1 Purdue in College Park.
“These kinds of games are good for us in the fact that I think some of these guys can see where we’re at,” Willard said, comparing Tuesday’s loss to last season’s 35-point defeat at Michigan on New Year’s Day. “For [Purdue] to come in here and do this to us on our home court, that should be a little bit of an eye opener.”
Maryland hasn’t beaten the country’s top-ranked team in the country since 2008. The Terps have lost six consecutive games against No. 1-ranked opponents since and are now 10-32 all-time against top-ranked teams.
Zach Edey, the reigning national player of the year, served as Purdue’s offensive focal point. The 7-foot-4 center scored or assisted on 11 of the Boilermakers’ first 16 points as the visitors took an early double-digit lead they maintained through the rest of the half. Edey finished Tuesday’s contest with a team-high 23 points.
Meanwhile, the Terps (9-5, 1-2 Big Ten) and star guard Jahmir Young struggled on offense early. The fifth-year senior, coming off a career-high 37 points against UCLA and a one-game absence due to the flu, missed his first three shots.
Young recovered, making four of his last seven field goal attempts to finish the half with a team-high eight points.
He was the only Terp to record multiple field goals as Maryland went 7-for-28 from the field and 1-for-8 from three-point range in the opening half. Julian Reese didn’t score and the Terps struggled to generate any consistent offense, routinely finding themselves with dwindling shot clocks to close aimless possessions.
“That’s pretty much our biggest issue,” Willard said of Reese’s struggles. The forward scored just one point against UCLA on Dec. 22. “We got to do a better job of trying to help him get some easy buckets. … Julian’s got to realize that he’s No. 1 on the scouting report and he’s got to bring it a little bit more.”
Maryland’s poor shooting left it in a 32-19 halftime hole. Its defense held Purdue (13-1, 2-1 Big Ten) to less than 50 percent shooting from the field and kept the Boilermakers from opening an even larger lead.
But as Terps defenders continued to converge on Edey in the paint early in the second half, Purdue’s three-point shooting helped it extend its advantage. Lance Jones made four threes in just over four minutes to start the second half as the Boilermakers went on a 15-4 run that gave them a 22-point lead.
Purdue finished the game shooting 9-for-20 from deep, with guards Braden Smith, Jones and Fletcher Loyer pitching in from three-point range and adding 14, 11 and nine points, respectively.
Young continued to be the Terps’ only form of consistent offense in the second half, finishing with a game-high 26 points on 12-for-23 shooting. Every other Maryland player combined to shoot just 22.5 percent from the field and 18.8 percent from three. Purdue coach Matt Painter said after the game that the Boilermakers emphasized making Maryland take outside shots.
A late spark from Young’s supporting cast brought the Terps within 14 with five minutes to go, but Maryland’s offensive struggles left it with little hope of cutting the deficit further against the top-ranked team in the country.
The loss marked the end of the Terps’ five-game winning streak, the end of their 19-game home winning streak and the first home Big Ten defeat under coach Kevin Willard in an ugly return to conference play.
“We were one step behind, they were just better than us offensively and defensively, we have to be more physical,” Young said. “The Big Ten is a physical league, so there’s no game that’s going to be a drop off or a buy game, so we got to be ready to play from the jump, home and away.”