College Park, MD – Seniors Isaac Haas and Dakota Mathias combined for 41 points, as Purdue (7-2, 1-0) opened up Big Ten play with an impressive win at Maryland (6-3, 0-1), 80-75. The 6-4 Mathias shined in the first half scoring 18 of his 20 points, while shooting a perfect 7-for-7 from the field, including four three-pointers. In the second half the senior 7-2 Haas took over. Haas had several key baskets in the paint and was just too much for Maryland to overcome late. Maryland did have a shot to tie with 14 seconds
left, but Jared Nickens’ shot was just short to tie the game at 78. Senior point guard P.J. Thompson then closed the game with two free throws. Amazingly Purdue received zero points from its bench in the game. With that said their senior laden lineup was more than enough.
Purdue proved to be the more experienced and better overall team tonight. Every time Maryland cut the lead Purdue would answer back with a run. That is a sign of composure and veteran leadership. Mathias showed his overall skills tonight. In the first half he showed his ability to score from deep. In the second half he was not a factor in scoring but he made sure to set his teammates up since Maryland was all over him. Mathias would use pump fakes to get defenders closing out on him to fly by and then he would penetrate and kick out to open shooters. He also showed his ability to defend. He was matched up on Kevin Huerter a lot and really limited his attempts and looks at the basket. Although Huerter had a solid night Mathias was right there on him. Mathias five rebounds and nine assists in addition to his 20 points.
The other large factor was Haas. When Haas received the ball in the post it was game over. His massive size and strength allowed him to get great position all night. He has a very dependable right hand hook and has surprisingly soft touch for a man his size. At one point Haas even made a turnaround fade away jumper from about twelve feet. Haas is so large that it is tough for him to stay out of foul trouble at times. He managed to do so tonight only having two fouls and registering four blocked shots. Haas finished with 21 points, on 10-of-13 shooting, with five rebounds and four blocks.
The other starters for Purdue that contributed were NBA prospects 6-1 soph Carsen Edwards and 6-8 senior Vince Edwards. Carsen is Purdue’s lightning rod on offense. He can get hot and fill it up in a hurry. He has a smooth jumper and a very quick release that allows him to get his shot off over bigger defenders. Carsen finished with 18 points and six rebounds. Vince is a solid overall player. He plays with a high basketball IQ on both ends of the floor. He can drive the lane or even step out and make an open three. On defense he has the versatility to guard players in the back court or the front court. Vince finished with ten points, eleven rebounds and four assists. The other starter P.J. Thompson had eleven points and four rebounds.
For Maryland, 6-0 soph PG Anthony Cowan and 6-7 soph Kevin Huerter did all they could to keep Maryland within striking distance. Cowan has continued to do his part to lead the young Terps from the point guard position. Hn hit several big three’s including a four point play late in the game to draw closer, eventually letting Maryland have a shot to tie late. Cowan had 20 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and zero turnovers. Huerter impacted the game on both ends. He plays tough defense and has become more aggressive on the offensive end recently. Huerter is starting to develop into a leader for the young Terps and it shows with his confidence recently. He finished with 19 points, five rebounds and two assists.
Two players that really struggled in the game were 6-7 NBA prospect Justin Jackson and 6-4 freshman Darryl Morsell. Jackson has struggled with his three-point shot all season. He seems to be pressing. He is either too passive or he forces the issue. With the passers he has on his team he will continue to get open looks and should eventually break out of his slump. While Jackson is struggling on offense he still makes an impact on defense as well as rebounding. He finished with five points, on 1-of-8 shooting, eight rebounds and four assists.
Morsell had his worst shooting night of his young career. Purdue coach Matt Painter said in the post game press conference they were ok with slacking off some on the perimeter on Morsell to help in other places. This worked out just fine as he shot 3-of-16 on the night and 0-of-4 from three. Morsell had plenty of open looks, but also forced the issue in the lane quite often. These decisions led to blocks or ill-advised shots to end possessions. Morsell finished with nine points and three rebounds.
Highly touted big man Bruno Fernando had twelve points and seven rebounds. He struggled defending big man Isaac Haas at times, giving him too deep of position.
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