It was Christmas in West Lafayette, and while the ground looked dusted with last night’s bit of snow, Mackey Arena was playing host to a Big Ten basketball game.
A Purdue team that dominated in portions and led throughout had to hold off a feisty Terrapin comeback late and filled their stockings with a Big Ten Victory, 73-70 behind a couple freshman guards.
Brandon Newman was frankly the best player on the court for a lot of this game. The guard from Valparaiso was an efficient assassin dropping his 17 points. It was a true freshman guard, Jaden Ivey, that first held off Maryland’s second-half run to get back in a game that Purdue led for nearly the full 40 minutes.
Ivey who had struggled with his jumper since returning to the lineup from a foot injury, drained two threes back to back to push Purdue’s lead back to near double-digits. Ivey’s 11 points in 19 minutes off the bench was a surge for a team that was struggling without their top two scorers seeing much action.
Trevion Williams was held to 10 points because of foul trouble. The big man only played 16 minutes and sat out nearly the entire first half.
Sasha Stefanovic led the team in minutes as the only player to reach 30 minutes, but he was only able to get one shot off. It was clear Maryland’s intentions were to hold the sharpshooter from continuing his hot shooting. He made his only three and knocked in both of his free throw attempts, but those five points were well below his season average.
Purdue’s defense was effective shutting down Maryland for most the game. Maryland struggled to capitalize on open looks and Purdue did a good job denying the post. The Terrapins shot 10 of 28 from three while the Boilers made 10 threes on just 22 attempts.
Purdue was able to limit turnovers to just 10 but continue to get outscored on points from turnovers. Terrapins edged Purdue 12-7 in that category.
This win will be a sigh of relief for Coach Painter. The Boilermakers are now fully locked into a murderer’s row of Big Ten Games. They will get Rutgers next.
Player of the Game:
The redshirt freshman had a game-high 17 points on just 11 shots. The guard was unstoppable against the Terapins, knocking down open threes, contested pull-ups, and getting to the hoop. In a second half where the Boilers struggled to sustain offense at time, the guard found a way to manufacture a bucket. He worked the mid-range game in the second half before sealing his performance and the game with a drive and finish left-hand lay up that put Purdue up late.