By Alex Mann.
Melo Trimble drained a contested 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left to ice the Maryland Terrapins’ 63-60 win over the Michigan State Spartans on Senior Night.
On a night where Maryland honored seniors Damonte Dodd and L.G. Gill, it was Melo Trimble (16 points, 6 points and 2 assists) who carried his team to victory.
“In money time their junior, their superstar; not only did he score baskets, but he made plays,” Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. “Sometimes it wasn’t the assist, but he had hockey assists. His play, dragging three people with him led to a pass that led to the next pass.”
Michigan State had possession with the game tied at 60, and 25 seconds and 19 seconds remaining on the shot and game clocks, respectively. Maryland responded with 19 seconds of the stingiest defense of the season, forcing a Spartan shot clock violation and opening the door for a Terp victory.
With 6.3 seconds left, there was little doubt as to who would get the ball in crunch time.
Trimble inbounded the ball to Justin Jackson (15 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist), who made an athletic play to control the pass, and then dish it back to Trimble near the Terps’ three-point-arc. Trimble did the rest: dribbling the ball down the court with defenders draped over him, and pulling up from about 25-feet to drain a contested three-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining.
Turgeon claims he told Trimble to drive to the basket on the last possession, but Trimble had other ideas.
“I didn’t hear him say that, I heard him say try to get to the basket and try to find an open teammate if I couldn’t do it.”
“I think of myself as a great shooter,” Trimble said. “Obviously I couldn’t make every shot, but I felt in a rhythm and I made it.”
Izzo had high praise for the junior guard.
“A great player made a great play,” he said.
The sell-out crowd at the Xfinity Center erupted before chanting “one more year! One more year!” hoping they didn’t witness Trimble’s final heroics at home, as this spring the junior will decide whether to forgo his senior year for the NBA.
Trimble maintained that he didn’t think about whether it was his last game at Xfinity.
“Nah, I was just focused on the win. I’m just happy we won,” Trimble said.
Justin Jackson scored more points than his freshmen counterparts, but Anthony Cowan (11 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists) and Kevin Huerter (3 points, 6 rebounds and 2 assists) played big roles in the Terps’ victory by scoring when they could and locking down defensively.
With the win Maryland (24 wins, 7 losses) tied for second place in the Big Ten and secured a No. 3 seed for this year’s Big Ten Tournament, which will be played at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
“We feel great. This one just gives us confidence and we feel relieved now,” Trimble said. “Back to 0-0.”
Turgeon added that the team is excited for the short distance to Washington for the tournament, “We don’t have to get on a plane. We get two days off and we don’t play until Friday. The guys love that.”
Trimble said the team was looking forward to the break, afforded to them by earning a double-bye in the tournament.
“We’re going to take the next two days off, get our energy back, get our legs back, come back to practice on Wednesday and get read for Friday,” Trimble said.