With six minutes left, No. 4 Maryland found itself down four points following a little spurt from Purdue.
The Boilermakers had just scored on seven of 10 possessions, establishing a presence inside to make up for poor perimeter shooting. There were holes all over the place, and Purdue was taking advantage with relative ease.
It seemed like travelling had finally caught up with the Terps. After all, it’s not easy for any team to move around for six straight games in a 17-day span. That’s when Mark Turgeon — as tired as anyone and still trying to figure out the puzzle — took a timeout.
“I wasn’t great today,” Turgeon admitted in the post-game presser. “I was over-coaching at times. Finally, around the six-minute mark, I just said ‘these are the two things we’re going to do guys, they have a hard time guarding them. Don’t let me screw this up. Just keep doing these things.’ And we did it…Our guys figured it out.”
And that’s when the Terps kicked into another gear.
Maryland used a 16-2 run late to pick up a big 72-61 victory over a Purdue team that simply couldn’t muster any offense once the Maryland defense kicked into gear on the interior. Particularly, the Terps began to deny passes to the wings that could lead to entry passes inside. Also, Diamond Stone played the most active six-minute streak of his short career defensively, not allowing AJ Hammons to establish the position.
Robert Carter was the key offensively for the Terps, scoring 19 points, including hitting all four of his 3-point attempts. Carter’s truly had a pretty spectacular season at Maryland that has gone a bit under-the-radar. He’s averaging 13 points, seven rebounds and two assists per game, plus has the top PER in the entire conference. He picked up the slack for Melo Trimble today, who finished with 14 after six late free throws, but went 2-for-12 from the field. Rasheed Sulaimon had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Diamond Stone added 12 points.
This was Maryland’s third top-50 win according to KenPom in the last month, and now they get a week off to get recharged prior to taking on four more top-50 teams before the end of the season. As they showed today, this is a really talented group that continues to prove themselves in close games. They’re 6-1 in games decided by six points or less, and have shown a penchant for making the run late when they need to.
A tired team will now get some time off before trying to take off coming down the stretch.