Maryland Basketball looks to continue win streak

By Megan Smedley

Mark Turgeon spent his fifty-first birthday preparing his No.4-ranked Maryland Terrapins for a matchup against No.18 Purdue. The Terps are riding a three-game win steak featuring their signature win of the season against Iowa. The Boilermakers are 19-4 and currently ranked fourth in the Big 10 while the Terps are 20-3 and ranked third in the Big 10. This will be the first of two meetings between teams and could have a major impact when it comes to the Big 10 tournament in just one month.

“I think it’s [the game] more about defense,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “We’re big. These guys are really big…So that’ll be different defensively trying to guard them. They’re a much better team than they were last year.”

“This game is definitely a gift to our bigs because they have had to deal with playing against and guarding guards all year, guarding smaller guys,” said senior forward Jake Layman. “This is definitely a game for them to kind of step up and play well for us.”

Turgeon says the defense will be different this game because in the past week, the opponents did not post up. He wishes the team would run more so they can score more easy baskets.

“We just got to get out and transition more,” said senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon. “Finish plays when we get a defensive rebound to help that open up to our transition offense.”

Luckily for the Terps, sophomore Jared Nickens seems to have gotten out of his midseason slump at just the right time. After not being able to hit the three in past couple of games, Nickens finally connected on Wednesday night scoring 11 points. Before the game, Turgeon sat down with Nickens to give him the confidence boost he needed.

“Play well; just go play; quit thinking about it,” said Turgeon. “I don’t like when guys feel sorry about themselves.”

In order for the Terps to win on Saturday, they need to cut down on their turnovers and reduce their foul troubles. Against Nebraska, Maryland committed 18 turnovers, which did not make Turgeon happy.

“We were really uncharacteristic,” said Turgeon. “I mean the shot clock goes off on one and one of our best players was having a really hard time dribbling and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in two years…We’re not trying to turn it over. We had three straight games where we really kept it down.”

“I think we’ll be fine,” said Sulaimon. “We just got to adjust to how the game is being called and then pick our points better, when to be aggressive and when not to be aggressive. Both him [Carter] and I are smart players and I think we’ll adjust. We’ll be fine.”

The Terps take on Purdue tomorrow at 4 p.m. in the Xfinity Center. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.