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Maryland puts home winning streak on line vs. No. 1 Purdue

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Any team that visited Maryland’s Xfinity Center in 2023 left with a loss.

The Terrapins will look to continue that trend in 2024 on Tuesday night when they welcome No. 1 Purdue to College Park, Md.

Maryland (9-4, 1-1 Big Ten) has won 19 straight home games, the fourth-longest active streak in Division I. The Terrapins won all 17 of their home contests spanning parts of two seasons in 2023, including a 75-53 victory over Coppin State on Thursday.

Forward Julian Reese powered the Terrapins with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while guard Jahari Long scored a career-high 15 points starting in place of Jahmir Young (illness).

Strong play near the basket from Reese on Tuesday will be vital in limiting Purdue’s 7-foot-4 Zach Edey, who is averaging 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. The 6-foot-9 Reese leads Maryland with 9.7 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game.

Meanwhile, having a healthy Young is essential for the Terrapins to challenge the Boilermakers’ blossoming backcourt.

“Obviously, everyone knows about Zach (Edey), but I’m really impressed with how much the guards have improved just in a year,” Maryland coach Kevin Willard said. “The pace that they’re playing at is much faster than they’ve played at in the past.”

Purdue (12-1, 1-1 Big Ten) averages 118.4 points per 100 possessions, the 13th-highest efficiency among 362 Division I teams. Braden Smith bundles 12.8 points with his team-best 6.8 assists per game, while fellow guards Fletcher Loyer and Lance Jones average 11.5 and 10.8 points, respectively.

Loyer scored 14 points in the Boilermakers’ 80-53 win over Eastern Kentucky on Friday in West Lafayette, Ind. Smith distributed a team-high eight assists to complement his seven points, while Jones added nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field. Edey recorded 13 points and seven rebounds.

Purdue likely will remain the nation’s top-ranked team in this week’s AP poll, but coach Matt Painter said his squad still has to prove itself on the road. The Boilermakers’ lone loss this season came in their only true away game, a 92-88 overtime defeat at Northwestern on Dec. 1.

“We still haven’t won a road game, and we’re going into a beehive where they didn’t lose in the Big Ten last season,” Painter said after Friday’s win, the 450th of his coaching career. “I feel like we’ve made strides. We have experience. We have some guys who went through some things. We have different guys off the bench … depending how the night unfolds.”

Mason Gillis sparked Purdue off the bench on Friday with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, including a 2-for-3 performance from beyond the arc. The senior forward averages a team-best 51.9 percent from 3-point range.

Gillis leads a core of reserves who average 23.9 points per game for the Boilermakers, the second-most in the Big Ten. Alternatively, the Terrapins’ depth will be tested again if Young remains sidelined. Maryland’s bench provides 14.1 points per game, the second-fewest in the conference.

Young worked out lightly on Thursday, Willard said after the Coppin State game. No update on Young’s status had been given as of Sunday.

Young delivered a career-high 37 points in his most recent game, a 69-60 win at UCLA on Dec. 22. The fifth-year guard leads the Terrapins with 19.3 points and 4.1 assists per game.

–Field Level Media

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