It was another tale of two halves for Purdue basketball on Christmas Day, as the team took on Maryland in Mackey Arena.
The game gave the Boilers (7-3, 2-1 Big Ten) a much-needed conference win after the double-digit loss to Iowa Tuesday night, beating the Terps, 73-70, on Friday.
Going into the half up 13, the Boilermakers could do no wrong. The team had committed three turnovers, was shooting 41.9% from the field and was making more than half of its 3-point attempts. Junior guard Eric Hunter Jr. had already broken double-digit points, and redshirt freshman forward Mason Gillis was leading the teams' rebounding with five grabs.
The second half began to unravel for the Boilers from the get-go. A four-and-a-half minute scoring drought, three Boilermakers entering foul trouble and seven more turnovers combined to help Maryland slash its deficit to a tie during the second half.
The Boilers consistently fought back, but never got the lead back up into double digits for the rest of the game. Freshman guard Jaden Ivey hit a pair of 3s in the middle of the half to extend the lead back to 7 points to give Purdue some breathing room, but going into the last minute, the game was tied at 70.
Hunter gave Purdue the lead back, 72-70, on a layup with 38 seconds left. Maryland had 2 chances to tie the game late. First, Daryll Morsell drove the baseline for a potential game-tying jumper with 19 seconds left, but he was fouled by Brandon Newman. Morsell missed both free throws and Trevion Williams grabbed the rebound, was fouled and made 1 of 2 at the line.
Then the Terps' Eric Ayala missed a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left. The ball went out of bounds. Hunter Jr. was fouled after receiving the inbounds pass with 4 seconds left and was fouled. Hunter missed both his free throw attempts, but after grabbing the rebound Maryland was unable to get a shot off to tie the game one last time.
Trading fouls and out-of-bound plays, the teams fought for control of the ball over the last 60 seconds, until free throws from Trevion Williams sealed the game for the Boilers.
Coach Matt Painter was impressed with Ivey's performance given his early-season injury and comeback that had some pitfalls.
"I thought tonight he had a good vibe about him, made some plays," Painter said. "(He) obviously made those two 3s when we were struggling in the second half and they were kinda having their way with us – that really helped us."
"I've been struggling for a couple of games and to see one go in finally was a confidence booster for me," Ivey said. "After (the pregame) shoot-a-round, I just kept shooting and I prided myself on that I am going to keep shooting. I put in so much work, I put in a lot of shots, a lot of time in the gym, I'm not going to settle for less ... I'm confident in myself. I know how much work I've put in. It just comes with preparation. I was ready to take the shots and I just knocked them down."
The veteran coach liked Newman's performance, too.
"Brandon was just tough down the stretch," he said. "He hit a couple of pullups, he hit the one 3, he had a driving layup, but he wanted the basketball. He made some plays on his own besides the one 3 that was ill-advised, he took all good shots and he was able to make them. So, I was happy for both those guys.
"Both of those guys as freshmen making those plays – anybody making those plays – is huge. Obviously, they were desperately needed and we were fortunate to get a three-point win."
It was not a pretty game from the line for either team, but both teams hit 3s with some regularity.
Maryland was as a dismal 10 of 21 from the line – including 0 of 2 at a key point. With Maryland trailing by 2, 72-70, Darryl Morsell was fouled going to the basket. He missed both free throws. Purdue's Williams grabbed the rebound with 18 seconds left and he made 1 of 2 giving the Terps another chance to tie the game. This time Eric Ayala missed a 3 with 6 seconds left. After the errant shot, the ball went out of bounds to Purdue. Hunter got the inbounds pass and was fouled with 2 seconds left. He missed both his free throws.
Maryland grabbed the rebound, but could not get off a shot before the final horn.
While Maryland was shooting less than 50% from the line, Purdue was only 11 of 17. Both teams hit 10 3-pointers. The Terps were 10 of 28 while Purdue was 10 of 22.
Purdue controlled the boards, winning that battle 41-31, but lost turnovers 10-5.
Williams, who was called for a foul in the first minute of the game, was limited in his time on the floor. He played 16:24 of the 40 minutes. Zach Edey played 18:21 and had 6 points in 7 rebounds.
Purdue was led by Newman's 17 points. He was 7 of 11 from the field – including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
Also in double figures were Hunter Jr. (16 points), Ivey (11) and Williams (10). Maryland had four players in double-digit scoring, too. Donta Scott led them with 15 points. Others included Aaron Wiggins (14 points), Ayala (13) and Morsell (10).
"There's a fine line when you find ways to win," Painter said. "Last year, we had some games where we did not find ways to win where something like this (losing a lead and gaining it back) would happen, you'd crumble. With that being said, we are very fortunate that they missed their free throws."
The team returns to the court Tuesday to face No. 11 Rutgers (6-1, 2-1) in New Jersey. The game will tip off at 7 p.m., broadcast on FoxSports1.
• Purdue improved to 7-3 overall and 2-1 in the Big Ten with a 73-70 win over Maryland on Christmas Day at Mackey Arena.
• The game was the first played for Purdue ever on Christmas Day.
• Purdue improved to 6-4 all-time against Maryland, including 4-1 at Mackey Arena (4 straight wins). Eight of the 10 games have been decided by single-digits and five by five or fewer points.
• The victory was Purdue’s fifth straight home win and improved Purdue to 50-9 at Mackey Arena against Big Ten foes since the start of the 2014-15 season.
• Purdue went 10-of-22 from long range, improving to 37-5 since the start of the 2017-18 season when making 10 or more trifectas.
• Purdue outrebounded Maryland, 41-31.
• Matt Painter improved to 169-104 in Big Ten play, needing just three more wins to tie Wisconsin legend Bo Ryan for ninth on the Big Ten’s all-time wins list.
• Purdue’s freshmen class scored 39 points, accounting for 53.4 percent of Purdue’s scoring. It marked the fourth time this year the group accounted for at least 50.0 percent of Purdue’s scoring (Liberty, Clemson, Miami, Maryland).
• Brandon Newman scored 17 points with two rebounds and an assist, making 3-of-6 from deep. It marked the fourth straight game he has made at least two triples.
• Jaden Ivey scored 11 points with five rebounds and four assists, both career highs. He scored seven straight points during a key second-half Purdue run.
• Eric Hunter Jr., tallied 16 points, the third time this year that he scored at least 15 points.
– Purdue Athletics Communications contributed to this report.