The game was up in the air until the final whistle in Mackey.
After building a 14-point halftime lead on Maryland (12-7, 3-5 Big Ten), Purdue (19-1, 8-1) saw the gap whittle away throughout the second period, with the Boilers ultimately hanging on for a 58-55 win.
Maryland forward Julian Reese brought the Terrapins within one possession of the lead with less than four minutes to play. After that, however, it was as if the teams lost interest in winning as they combined to miss their last 15 shots.
Junior forward Ethan Morton described the game as “a rock fight.”
“We’ve been there a lot, and had experience winning these low scoring games with our defense,” he said in a post-game press conference.
The Boilers opened the game with crisp shooting as they built their lead up to 16 with nine minutes into the first half. Purdue shot as high as 70% from the field well into the first half but went on a prolonged shooting drought to close out the half after a putback dunk by forward Caleb Furst.
That continued into the second half, during which the Boilers shot just 28% from the field. Their last made jump shot of the game was a 3-pointer by senior guard David Jenkins 10 minutes into the first half.
The Boilermakers continued their streaky ways from deep. They shot two for 13 on 3-pointers, going without a single one in the second half.
“I thought we did a good job of getting them to take a lot of shots that they’re not used to taking,” Maryland head coach Kevin Willard said after the game. “I thought we did a good job of not letting (Purdue) be so fluid.”
Driving the defensive performance for Maryland was their zone defense, which held Purdue to .3 points per possession in this game, as opposed to .8 versus man.
According to Purdue head coach Matt Painter, his player’s struggles versus zone came down to bad passing.
“When they take things away, you pass the basketball out,” Painter said. “(freshman point guard Braden Smith) had a couple of reads that he kind of miscalculated.
Free throws and defense salvaged the rough shooting day for Purdue, as they outscored Maryland by 8 points from the line and held the Terps to identically bad shooting from the field; the teams were tied in field goal and 3-point percentage.
The Boilers’ defensive stopper, Ethan Morton, contained Jamir Young, Maryland’s leading scorer. Young, who had averaged over 25 points across his last three games, finished with just 10 points on four for 18 shooting.
“He just causes problems with his size and ability to move his feet,” Matt Painter said. “He does a lot of little things to help us win.”
Zach Edey was the prime contributor for the Boilers, scoring 24 and securing 16 rebounds.
The theme for today's game was “Hammer Down Cancer,” as Purdue sported uniforms with neon-green lettering. Jerseys the players wore during the game will be auctioned off to fund the Purdue Institute for Cancer Research.
Purdue’s next game will be at Michigan on Thursday. The game will tip off at 9 p.m. and air on Fox Sports 1.