Coach Mark Turgeon believes Maryland’s first Big Ten defeat might serve as a needed wake-up call.
The No. 11 Terrapins could face another serious challenge Saturday as they try to bounce back against a Purdue team looking for its first 3-0 league home start in four seasons.
Turgeon knew this week’s two-game road swing would be difficult but it seemed Maryland (14-2, 2-1) had caught a break when Illinois announced leading scorer Rayvonte Rice would miss some time with a hand injury. However, Illini guard Malcolm Hill stepped up to hit half of his 18 shots and finished with 28 points to help hand the cold-shooting Terrapins a 64-57 loss Wednesday.
With a record that tied the school’s best start and riding a seven-game winning streak, Maryland shot worse than 40.0 percent for the second time in three games, finishing at 36.5 despite going 9 of 21 from 3-point range.
”We’ve been listening to everybody telling us how good we are,” Turgeon said. ”You don’t ever like to lose, but maybe we needed this.”
Talented Maryland freshman guard Melo Trimble (16.3 points per game) had a team-high 17 points but dependable seniors Dez Wells (13.9 ppg), Richaud Pack (8.3) and Evan Smotrycz (4.9) combined for 10 on 3-of-21 shooting.
”I love my seniors, but they just didn’t have a good night,” Turgeon said. ”They were pressing.”
The Terps could get a boost after announcing 6-foot-9 Ivan Bender was added to the roster this week and will be eligible to play right away. A native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bender averaged 14.3 points and 9.0 rebounds for KK Split in the Junior Euroleague.
"We are excited to have Ivan join our program," Turgeon said. "He is a terrific young man who will be a great addition to our team."
It’s uncertain if Bender will play in the Terps’ initial meeting with Purdue (10-6, 2-1), which opened Big Ten play by holding Minnesota and Michigan to a combined 38.0 percent shooting and never backed down in Wednesday’s 62-55 loss at fourth-ranked Wisconsin.
The Boilermakers shot 51.0 percent compared to the Badgers’ 43.6 and outrebounded them 26-21, but committed 12 more fouls and went to the free-throw line seven times while Wisconsin was 25 of 31 from the stripe.
"We had to do a better job of moving our feet, and we didn’t. We had to do a better job of just staying positive when we didn’t get some calls," said Purdue coach Matt Painter, whose team made 56 trips to the line against the Gophers and Wolverines. "But that’s part of it. Hopefully we can learn from it, and then next time it happens we can make the adjustments."
Guard Jon Octeus had a season-high 15 points for the Boilermakers. The senior is averaging 12.4 points while going 21 of 32 from the field in five games after he averaged 6.6 and shot 46.4 percent in the first 11 contests.
Purdue, which last won its first three Big Ten home games in 2010-11, has dropped nine straight overall against Top 25 opponents.