WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue guard Carsen Edwards always finds ways to score.
Now the preseason All-American has started producing victories with a more well-rounded approach.
Edwards finished with 20 points despite an off-shooting night, and delivered the decisive final flurry with two perfect passes for easy baskets to help Purdue hold off No. 23 Maryland 62-60 on Thursday.
“Even when he’s not scoring, guys are looking at him, guys are paying attention (to him),” center Matt Haarms said. “If he’s driving to the rim, you better believe there (are) three guys dumping and it makes it easier for the rest of us.”
Despite going 4 of 15 from the field, Edwards knocked down three 3-pointers, including the one that gave the Boilermakers a 55-54 lead they never relinquished. He made all nine of his free-throw attempts, had four rebounds and three assists — including one to Aaron Wheeler for a layup and another to Haarms for a dunk — to give the Boilermakers a 59-54 lead with 5:18 left.
Edwards wasn’t finished.
His late double-team forced Maryland into a turnover and when Nojel Eastern blocked Darryl Morsell’s 3 at the buzzer to preserve the win, Edwards was one of the first to thank his teammate.
The Boilermakers (6-3, 1-1 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak and avoided starting conference play at 0-2 for the first time since 2013-14, even though it wasn’t pretty.
“He probably didn’t have his best game tonight but he made some big plays,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said of Edwards.
Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland (7-2, 1-1) with 18 points, and Bruno Fernando finished with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
But the Terrapins blew multiple chances to take control and pick up an early-season road win.
Instead, after taking an eight-point lead in the first half and a 34-30 halftime lead, Maryland allowed the Boilermakers to quickly tie the score at 41 in the second half and then played see-saw until Edwards warmed up.
Maryland got as close as 60-59 on Cowan’s two free throws with 7.2 seconds to go but Edwards answered with two free throws and Eastern’s block closed it out.
“It was a really good game for him,” coach Matt Painter said, referring to Edwards. “It didn’t go his way in terms of shooting, but I think he did a lot of other things for us.”
Maryland: The Terrapins shot 28.6 percent from the field in the second half, finished the game going 1 of 9 from the field and scored only six points in the final 7½ minutes. They need to be much better to contend for a Big Ten title.
Purdue: While the Boilermakers continue to struggle offensively, Painter appreciated the grit his team demonstrated in playing its third straight game against a ranked opponent.
Maryland: The Terrapins finished the game by going 1 of 9 from the field. ... Morsell had 12 points. ... Fernando made his first 3 of the season and the second of his career while recording his fifth double-double this season. ... Cowan needs seven points to reach the 1,000-point mark. ... Maryland has outrebounded each of its first nine opponents.
Purdue: Wheeler scored a season-high 15 points while Haarms had 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. ... Eastern left for a short time in the second half with what appeared to be an injured right leg. Haarms also appeared to get hurt in a scrap for a loose ball. ... The Boilermakers finished with 16 turnovers, 10 in the first half.
THEY SAID IT
Maryland: “It felt like they had six guys out there (defensively),” Turgeon said. “They were everywhere.”
Purdue: “You have a (scoring) drought, your two leading scorers shoot the percentages that they did, you get outrebounded by 10 and you have 16 turnovers, you think you’d lose the game,” Painter said. “We were able to hang in there and be in a good position.”
Maryland: Will try to rebound against one of last year’s Final Four teams, Loyola Chicago, in Baltimore on Saturday.
Purdue: Makes the next stop on a challenging schedule Sunday at Texas.