If you're a fan of some ugly, ugly basketball it was on display in West Lafayette this afternoon. Both teams combined for 47 fouls, including technicals on each coach. Maryland was 18 of 48 from the floor and that was considered hot shooting compared to Purdue's 21 of 57. Maryland was 6 of 20 from three while Purdue was a slightly worse 5 of 20. Purdue was, once again, a dismal 65% from the line, but at least got there 20 times. The officials decided that Damonte Dodd was not allowed to take part in today's activities, then decided that Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons could not take part in the second half.
This was about as brutal of a game as it could be, and normally that would play in Purdue's favor, but it won't. The Boilers fell behind by a consistent 6-9 points in the second half, regularly got it to four, but could not get the stop necessary to turn the corner all the way. When Purdue hit shots it couldn't stop the Terrapins. When it did get stops it couldn't convert. When Maryland was fouled it hit its free throws (27-31). When Purdue was fouled, it didn't hit them as well. That was your game.
While some will say the foul situation was biased, in the end it was 22-22 before Purdue's last three came as the Boilers tried to stop the clock. To that point it was an equally ugly game for both teams, only the Terrapins shot better from the line. A total of 16 turnovers by Purdue were a huge difference even though Purdue had a 38-31 edge on the boards.
This was a typical bad Purdue game in that the offense had too many stretches where it looked just awful. They scored only six points in the first 10 minutes. They took a 24-21 lead on the possession where Mark Turgeon was called for a technical foul, but even with the ball up 24-21 they made a dumb turnover. Defensively, Purdue was strong, but once Hammons and Haas each received their fourth fouls with about 11 minutes left Maryland was able to assert itself by pounding it inside and taking full advantage of their absence.
Yeah, Vince Edwards hit two huge threes and even P.J. Thompson knocked down a big one, but Maryland answered each time. It didn't really build its lead because Purdue found some way to keep it together offensively, but the Boilers could not stop Jake Layman and Michal Cekovsky inside.
Here are a couple of the biggest plays late:
- Edwards got a block with 6:41 left, but Evan Smotrycz got his rebound and scored on a tip-in. That moved the Maryland lead from 51-48 to 53-48 with 6:41 left. If Purdue gets a stop there it is huge.
- With 3:04 left, after Kendall hit a big three and Hammons had two free throws to cut the lead to 59-55 after Maryland pulled ahead by 9 the Boilers fouled Dez Wells. Wells is automatic and it was a near defensive stop deep into the shot clock.
- The goal-tending call on Hammons. It was simply an atrocious call that was nowhere near correct. While it didn't beat Purdue, it was basically the nail.
After the game here is what Kendall Stephens, Rapheal Davis, and Jon Octeus had to say:
And here is coach Painter:
As for where Purdue goes now, it is a crossroads. If we go back to the old "12-6 is enough" the Boilers need to finish 10-4 in these last 14 games. The good news is that we have already played the two best teams in the conference and will not play them again, and we played them close. The next five games feature two teams we absolutely have to beat (Penn State and Northwestern), and three that we're capable of beating if we play well. Today we did not play well, but defensively we gave ourselves a chance. It is not good to miss on a chance like this, but we get a week off before facing Penn State. It is time to rest, see what is working, and focus. There is a lot of basketball to be played and we're more than capable of winning any of the remaining 14 games.
We're also more than capable of losing any of them.