November 20, 2018

Maryland Basketball: Terps beat Rutgers in impressive fashion, but greater concern for Melo Trimble

The Maryland Terrapins nearly had a let down to begin Big Ten conference play against the Penn State Nittany Lions and responded with their best game of the year against dark horse Northwestern. Although Rutgers is on their way of reaching double-digit defeats, 6-9 on the year, Mark Turgeon was not underestimating the opponent at hand. The Scarlet Knights played Maryland close last year and have an NBA experienced coach in Eddie Jordan, former Washington Wizards head man.

No matter what Rutgers threw at the Terps, the third ranked team in the country methodically countered it. Maryland led from coast-to-coast on their way to a 88-63 blowout victory. Maryland has their first 3-0 start in conference play since the year Gary Williams brought home a national championship in 2002.

The Terps took advantage of their size early and often

Rutgers only has two players taller than 6-foot-4: Greg Lewis (6-9′) and D.J. Foreman (6-8), who looked like dwarves against the combination of new starting tandem Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. Not only did Maryland’s big combine for 21 points in the first half, but they drew three fouls against Lewis and Foreman each with four minutes remaining in the first half. Maryland took advantage of 12 offensive rebounds by turning them into 11 second chance points.

Rutgers’ offensive struggles leads to blowout first half

Not only did the Terps height make their defense more sound, but they continued the momentum from their best defensive game of the year today. The Scarlet Knights had two separate stretches in the first half where they were scoreless for a six- and five-minute stretch. Maryland capitalized with 19-6 and 15-0 runs while the Rutgers had just six field goals the entire half on frigid 24 percent shooting. Even when Rutgers was forced to go extremely small, five guards on the floor, the Terrapin bigs showed off their athleticism in making life tough. At the end of twenty minutes, Maryland held a convincing 46-18 advantage.

(Photo by: @mellentuck)

(Photo by: @mellentuck)

Melo Trimble suffers injury to right hamstring

Early in the game, the preseason Big Ten Player of the Year starting limping around the court. Although Trimble did not seek medical attention while sitting on the bench in the first half, he was clearly in discomfort. The Upper Marlboro native participated in the layup line drill before the start of the second half but shook his head “no” to teammates asking if he was going to be able to go. Trimble had come out of the locker room with a sleeve on his right leg. Varun Ram and Jaylen Brantley saw extended minutes after Trimble came out with four minutes in the first half.

Coach Turgeon insisted after the game, “Melo is fine. Melo will be fine.” Transfer guard Rasheed Sulaimon said Trimble told him he was “OK” and “fine”. Sulaimon elaborated that he is “pretty confident that our trainers … will get him right and he’ll be back in no time.”

Another Rutgers drought puts the game away early

For the third time in the game, the Scarlet Knights had a five-minute stretch with scoring a single point. Although Rutgers came out better in the second half with 16 points in seven minutes, after 18 in the entire first half, Maryland responded. The Terps rattled off an 18-0 run and put this game out of reach as if it were not already. This gave Turgeon the confidence to rest more of his star players which will be beneficial as conference play continues on.

After seven straight games off the bench, Diamond Stone returns to starting fold (but by mistake)

Diamond Stone at Maryland Madness

(Photo by: Terrapin Hoops)

Hot off of a week of winning Big Ten conference player of the week and national freshman of the week awards, Turgeon decided to insert his highly-touted recruit back into the starting fold. Stone was fine with his role off the bench, unlike many talented youngsters might be in his shoes, but Maryland got back to a feel that will probably be plentiful in March. With the growing chemistry of Stone with the rest of his teammates combined with his improved defense, the move makes sense. As long as the Wisconsin native is able to stay out of foul trouble to start games, this lineup could be here to stay. Stone finished with the Terps lone double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in just 21 minutes of play.

UPDATE (1/7/2016): According to senior Jake Layman, defensive gem Damonte Dodd was suppose to continue starting for the Maryland Terrapins but “someone messed that up.” Dodd was introduced as the starter but Stone had to start because he was listed on the official lineup. Since the freshman usually comes in within the first few minutes of each half, Maryland did not miss much of a beat. It will be interesting to see if Dodd continues to be the starter or if Turgeon will get over his jinx, he kidded, that the Terps were an undefeated 7-0 with Stone off the bench.

Maryland will depart to play the regressing Wisconsin Badgers in Madison on Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN. The game will serve not only as a tournament resume builder for both sides, but also as Stone’s homecoming to the school he passed up to become a Terp.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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