It was definitely an imperfect game. Heck, some would describe it as downright ugly. But tonight in Mackey Arena, the Terps pulled out a last minute win over the Purdue Boilermakers, 56-55, to remain perfect in ACC/Big Ten Challenge play. 4 years . . . 4 wins!
We don't know about you, but we'll take an imperfect win over a near-perfect loss anyday. So the long drive here (and a long return trip awaiting us tomorrow) was definitely worth it. Just getting to sit in "The Pit" at Old Mackey was pretty cool. Of course, The Pit is so named because it is literally below the court; we couldn't see a thing when the players and coaches on the Maryland bench jumped to their feet . . . time and time again. (And you can't exactly yell "Down in front" to Coach B.) We're not complaining; that was part of the experience. Sometimes we couldn't see the action, but we could always tell from the bench's reaction whether something good, or something not so good, had happened on the court for the Terps.
And this evening there was plenty of both . . . good and not so good. Too many turnovers, too many fouls, not enough outside shots falling, and the Terps found themselves down by double digits -- 11 points -- with about 5 minutes left in the game. But the Terps never gave up; they fought back, pressing the Boilers, and with 52 seconds remaining and Maryland down by one, rookie Alyssa Thomas nailed a layup that put the Terps ahead for good. Purdue was unable to score, the final buzzer sounded, and the small group of Maryland fans packed in the pit went wild! Just how did the Terps manage to pull this one out?
Last-minute hero Alyssa was one of three Terps to finish in double figures, with 12 (and an impressive 9 boards). Lynetta Kizer led all scorers with 20, and Diandra T also had 12. Another noteworthy stat was Maryland's domination of the glass (the Terps outrebounded the Boilers 40-27), which helped keep them in the game even though they squandered so many of their possessions.
And we feel good knowing that the Terps did their part in helping the ACC to again remain perfect against the Big Ten in the Challenge, as the ACC prevailed for the 4th straight year, 6-5 (the closest yet).
Our evening at Mackey ended well, and it began well too, as we ran into Drey Mingo's Mom in the lobby and got to hear first hand how well Drey is doing. Thank goodness! And then we got to see this for ourselves, as Drey returned to the court tonight, escorted by her teammates, hooked up to an IV for her antibiotics, and beaming her 1,000 watt smile. Everyone in the arena stood and cheered -- Drey's former Maryland "family" and her current Purdue "family" -- united in the joy of seeing Drey walking back onto the court after being struck by such a frightening, life-threatening illness. It's not known yet whether Drey will be able to play again this season, but she's such a fighter, we wouldn't bet against it!
Finally, after all the cheering and excitement, the BCs needed a good meal, and we found it at the Triple XXX. No, not an adult bookstore, but Indiana's "oldest drive in restaurant," where their claim to fame is great burgers and Triple XXX root beer. We each had a Bert's Burger and a big mug of Triple XXX, and can safely say that the restaurant's reputation is well-deserved. (Our server suggested we try the special burger that they make with a layer of peanut butter, but we didn't feel quite adventurous enough for that this evening.) A big thanks to BC reader Jill for suggesting the Triple XXX to us!
We have a long drive ahead of ourselves tomorrow, so that's it for our quick midwestern road trip. Petey says hello from West Lafayette! But early in the AM, it's Goodbye Lafayette . . . Hello Columbus and points East, home sweet home.
Photo Credits: DC BasketCases