BALTIMORE, Md. — 'Twas the night before Christmas, and for the Terrapin men. A sleigh ride to Purdue, it’s back to the Big Ten.
"I’m definitely looking forward to it. Christmas is probably the majority of people’s favorite holiday. It’s a gift-giving holiday and hopefully we can give to the Terps fans a well, hard-played game and we’d like to come away with a win," said Terps guard Eric Ayala.
Those Terps fans are getting a rare Christmas afternoon present as Maryland (5-2, 0-1) visits Purdue (6-3, 1-1) Friday at 2:30 p.m. Some local hoops to share the holiday spotlight with the pros this year.
"It’s exciting because it’s a different experience," said Terps forward Galin Smith. "NBA guys, they also play on Christmas. So, it will be a different experience, just taking it all in."
This game and the road trip that follows is a chance for this Maryland team to bond.
"Playing on Christmas Day is pretty special and then afterwards we’ll spend some time together - bus ride to Wisconsin the next day. I think it could be a really good team-building experience for us over the next four days," said Terps Head Coach Mark Turgeon.
The Terps are looking to build off Tuesday’s 84-71 win over La Salle. Erica Ayala scored a career-high 23 points. Maryland committed just four turnovers, the fewest in the Mark Turgeon era and fewest for the Terps since February of 1993.
"Just making the right play," said Ayala. "Everybody just kind of moving the ball and just having confidence in each other."
"We’re getting closer to becoming the team I think we can be," added Turgeon.
This will mark only the second Christmas Day game in Terps program history. The other was a 1984 overtime win over Iowa in Hawaii.