A night to remember: Students storm court following Maryland men’s basketball’s upset over No. 3 Purdue

Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics

Maryland forward Julian Reese grabbed the final rebound of the night after Purdue center Zach Edey’s layup attempt rattled off the rim with 32 seconds left. 

The entire Xfinity Center crowd was on their feet as the students clustered in the aisles, ready to rush the court. 

Reese handed the ball off to point guard Jahmir Young to dribble out the remaining clock as most Purdue players headed towards its bench. Maryland took the shot clock violation allowing Purdue to exit the floor, making the student body wait a little longer to party. 

Two Purdue players remained on the court to inbound the ball as the final 2.2 seconds ticked away, and pandemonium ensued. 

Maryland men’s basketball (18-8, B1G 9-6) completely flipped the game, turning an eight-point deficit into an 18-point lead courtesy of a 29-4 scoring run that the Terps used to take down No. 3 Purdue (23-4, B1G 12-4) 68-54.

“This is one of the best programs in the country,” head coach Kevin Willard said. “I thought it was important for students to understand what this program is really all about. If you think about what went on last year these poor kids dealing with COVID and all the BS with that. I think for the students and for the fan base, it was a great environment and a great moment.”

With the massive upset, the Terps secured their first top-5 home win in over seven years. The last win came against No. 3 Iowa when Maryland won 74-68.

That 29-4 scoring run was jump-started after Purdue’s forward Mason Gillis fouled Reese and received a technical foul for arguing with the ref. 

During that stretch, it seemed like everything was going for the Terps as Maryland made 15 of 17 field goal attempts during one point while Purdue only made three field goals on 12 attempts. 

Guard Don Carey’s transition layup, which tied the game at 37 apiece, and Patrick Emilien’s dunk a few minutes later excited the second straight sellout crowd where a historic upset was in the making.

“That was the loudest I have ever heard this place,” sophomore finance major David Eller said.  

The Terps also beat Purdue at its own game, winning the rebound battle. In the second half alone Maryland outrebounded Purdue 18-7 as the Terps won all the 50-50 balls. 

With that 29-4 run, it seemed inevitable that the students would storm the court. Students started cramming into the stair aisles during the final media timeout with 1:53 left and Maryland up 63-52 waiting to storm the court for the first time in years.

Forward Donta Scott banked in a dagger three-pointer with 1:14 left right before the shot clock expired, pushing the Terps lead to 14 as the fans’ anticipation to storm the court for the first time in years grew.

After Purdue scored one last time and Terps guard Ian Martinez knocked down a pair of free throws, there was still 47 seconds left on the clock, but once those 47 ticked off, it was time to party. 

Students from all sides raced down to the court as the Xfinity Center floor became a sea of red, black, white and gold packed to the brim in mere seconds. Everyone remained on the court celebrating till Xfinity Center staff kicked everyone out. The students cheered loudly on the court rewarding themselves for creating the raucous environment. 

“I was trying to get out of it…and get back to the locker room to be honest with you,” Willard said. 

While most students dream of being able to storm a court, the players had some different takes. 

“Oh man, it was kind of crazy,” Reese said. “I was by the bench, so it was kind of easy just going under the rope. I saw people falling so I tried to get out of there.”

“I got caught in that actually,” Young said. “It was hot and everybody was jumping, it was just [Young shakes his head].”

“Someone was on the backboard I think,” Reese quickly added. 

For the student who climbed on top of the hoop and the rest of the student body it was a night to remember for the student body getting to participate in a tradition done all over the country. 

“Easily the best Maryland game (of any sport) I’ve been to and I’m a senior,” senior double majoring in criminal justice and government/politics Josh Weber said. 

Maryland’s upset of Purdue came exactly 10 years to the day of students rushing the court after the Terps upset No. 2 Duke, 83-81, in the Blue Devils’ last appearance in Xfinity Center to date.

“The best game I’ve ever cheered in [during] all my four years,” senior Marketing and Operations Management Business Analytics major Sarah Leonard said. 

“It felt unreal,” junior Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics major Ray Ash said. “That feeling of pure joy is something I never want to forget.”

With the win, the Terps moved up to a tie for third place in the Big Ten standings with Indiana with just five games remaining for Willard’s squad. The win also bolstered Maryland’s odds at the NCAA Tournament.