In Maryland’s win over Michigan on Thursday night, 6-foot-1 Terrapins guard Jahmir Young scored all nine of his field goals in the paint while putting up 26 points.
On Sunday, when Maryland faces No. 3 Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., Young will find an imposing figure waiting for him inside, the Boilermakers’ Zach Edey.
The 7-foot-4 Edey, who leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.3 points per game) and rebounds (13.0 per game) and ranks second in blocks (2.3 per game), has emerged as a national player of the year candidate as Purdue is off to its best start in program history.
In the Boilermakers’ 64-63 win at Michigan State on Monday, Edey hit the game-winning shot with 2.2 seconds left, finishing with a career-high 32 points and 17 rebounds.
Not as much was needed from Edey on Thursday night as he amassed 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks while Big Ten-leading Purdue (18-1, 7-1) overwhelmed cellar-dwelling Minnesota with defense, 61-39.
“I’ve never believed that we needed 30 and 15 from me to win,” Edey said. “We have a lot of guys who can really do a lot of damage.”
Purdue’s primary damage-doer at Minnesota was freshman Braden Smith, who tallied a season-high 19 points to go along with his seven rebounds and seven assists.
The other star, of course, was the Boilermakers’ defense, which limited the Gophers to 12 points in the first half. Purdue held Minnesota’s top two scorers, Jamison Battle and Dawson Garcia, to a combined seven points on 3-of-22 shooting from the floor.
It was the fifth straight win for Purdue, with four of them coming on the road.
“You gotta be able to win games on the road. You gotta be able to win close games,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said. “But it’s more than that. It’s having that mindset and being ready to win.”
Maryland (12-6, 3-4) played true to its Big Ten form in its 64-58 win over visiting Michigan. In the league, the Terrapins are 3-0 at home and 0-4 on the road, with the losses coming by an average of 17 points.
“It’s not bad considering we’ve had the toughest schedule in the league,” Maryland coach Kevin Willard said.
One of the losses came at Michigan, 81-46, in Maryland’s most decisive defeat since it joined the Big Ten in 2014.
“I think we’ve gotten a little rattled on the road, to be perfectly honest,” Willard added. “At times we’ve played a little too fast.”
The biggest key for Maryland this year has been Young. His three highest-scoring games have come in the Terrapins’ three Big Ten wins. Young’s intention to get to the basket was evident on Thursday.
“I think he’s playing as good as any player in the country right now,” Willard said. “He’s gotten comfortable with the length and the size he’s going against every night. It’s a big adjustment seeing the centers he sees.”
Going against Edey might require another adjustment as the Terrapins try to solve their road woes.
The series has been evenly played in recent years with the home team capturing the past seven meetings.
–Field Level Media