By Emily Olsen
A jackhammer has a decibel level of 111. On Saturday afternoon, Mackey Arena’s max decibel level read 111.5. From start to finish, the persistent sound of Purdue’s student section filled the Arena during the Boilermakers 83-79 victory over Maryland.
“Purdue fans are loud,” freshman center Diamond Stone said. “They are electric.”
With less than a minute to play, senior guard Johnny Hill jumped up and secured an offensive rebound off of a Dakota Mathias’ missed three. Mathias recorded 17 points Saturday despite averaging 4.8 points per game this season. Hill’s rebound was consistent with the Boilermakers overall performance. He recorded four of the teams 19 offensive rebounds.
“Obviously the difference in this game was we couldn’t rebound and they could,” coach Turgeon said.
Purdue out rebounded Maryland 21 to 9 in the first half.
“They got to fix it. I can only do so much,” coach Turgeon said about his players’ rebounding. “We gotta fix it.”
The Boilermaker’s star center A.J. Hammons helped push Purdue to victory. The senior contributed 19 points and seven rebounds. Hammons went two for two from behind the arc.
“I thought Hammons was at an unbelievable level the whole game,” coach Turgeon said. “He was terrific and we really had no answer for him.”
With less than five minutes left in the game, after a team timeout, coach Turgeon strayed from his typical man-to-man defense and switched to press Purdue. The Terps forced five quick turnovers with senior forward Jake Layman recording two steals.
“We tried to press earlier and we gave up a couple. We gave up a three and we gave up a layup,” coach Turgeon said. “We had to be aggressive. Jake [Layman] is really good at the top of the press and we were aggressive and we played smart.”
Sophomore guard Melo Trimble, who had seven turnovers against Michigan, recorded just one turnover and team-high 19 points.
“I think Melo will be able to continue to get better,” fellow sophomore Jared Nickens said. “We are all behind his back. We trust him that he is going to make great plays for us moving forward.”
With three minutes left in the game, Layman made a layup to tie the game at 76. It’s the closest the Terps came to taking the led during the game.
“We’re frustrated. We are content with the way we fought, our effort, and how we came back. We feel better about ourselves moving forward,” Nickens said. “We had to stay mentally tough and keep grinding.”
Despite the loss, Turgeon and the Terps are optimistic about tonight’s performance and the remaining regular and post season.
“We’ve really gotten better in the last ten days; the week off really helped us get better,” coach Turgeon said.
The Terps shrunk Purdue’s once 16-point lead to three points with less than seven seconds to play, but the second-half rally from the Terps was not enough to overcome the rebounding Boilermakers.
“It was not being aggressive. Purdue today was really aggressive with us,” Diamond Stone said. “It started kicking in with us the second half, we started turning it on, but it was too late.”
Turnovers have plagued Maryland this season, but Saturday it was the Boilermakers who struggled, giving the ball up. Purdue had 15 turnovers. The Terps had six.
“The good thing is we fixed the turnover problem. Our execution has been great the last two games, we are very comfortable with a lot of things,” coach Turgeon said. “It’s a next step. It’s part of the process.”
This is the second time in two road games that the Terps have gone down early.
“It’s hard.” Coach Turgeon said. “I never felt we were out of it even when it was 24-8. I just wanted us to play better.”
The Terps have two games remaining in the regular season. They will host Illinois Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Xfinity Center. WMUC Sports will have the call starting at 6:50 p.m.