December 9, 2019

Maryland Basketball: Terps put it all together early, hold on late for quality road victory over Huskies at MSG

On Monday, the Maryland Terrapins dropped to sixth in the AP Poll and ninth in the USA Today Coach’s poll following a tough road loss to North Carolina. In the Jimmy V Classic from Madison Square Garden, the Terps had an opportunity to record their first quality road win of the year against the Connecticut Huskies. Even with two losses on the year, UConn is loaded with talent and was playing in their home away from home.

Maryland came out on fire, led by 16 at halftime, withstood a serious charge and eventually iced it at the line — thanks in part to a technical foul on Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie — and the Terps escaped with a tough, quality 76-66 win that felt like a tournament game.

Learning to start faster out of the gates starts to catch on

After the UNC loss, Mark Turgeon said that he is encouraged by the team’s prospects because he can fix the turnovers and defense. Although the fifth-year Terps coach claimed that will not happen over night, Maryland has looked much better in the early goings of their game. Out of the gates Melo Trimble led Maryland’s aggressive attacking of the basket. Within six minutes, the Terps already had nine free throw attempts to take early command even without shooting lights out from the floor. Diamond Stone and Trimble combined for 22 of the Terps 29 points as Maryland was in control early. The Terrapins held 15-4 and 27-11 leads in the first half over Connecticut.

Diamond Stone might not have started, but he shined under the lights

In front of 40 NBA scouts at “The Mecca” of basketball, Stone started to show why he was a top-10 recruit this year. 98 seconds into the ball game, Mark Turgeon brought in his highest rated recruit off the bench where he immediately went to work. During Stone’s hot streak, Turgeon recalled Michal Cekovsky from the scorers table because he did not want to mess with the freshman’s rhythm. Midway through the first half, Stone had already recorded 12 points and six rebounds for Maryland.

Sloppy play, defense leads to UConn run to start the second half

The Huskies started the second half 9 of 13 from the field after shooting 30 percent in the first half. They were more aggressive in their attacks of the basket and Maryland’s defense was not as effective. Five early turnovers in the first eight minutes didn’t help the Terrapin cause in trying to close things out early as the Huskies pulled back within single digits. Connecticut had 17 points in the first seven minutes of the half after only dropping 22 in the entire first half.

Huskies do not go away even after Maryland pushes thing back up to 16

Madison Square Garden is Connecticut’s second home and their crowd was kept alive by another run by the Huskies. A 13-2 run, part of a stretch where UConn made 9 of 13 field goal attempts, cut Maryland lead to just six points. It seemingly came out of nowhere as Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis caught fire for Kevin Ollie’s Huskies. The duo combined for 11 points in two minutes to cut their deficit to just three points.

Melo Trimble: the man, the myth, the legend

(Photo by: Deadspin)

(Photo by: Deadspin)

After Connecticut first cut the lead to single digits in the second half, Melo Trimble willed his team back up to a 16-point advantage. Trimble had six points with unbelievable finishes at the rim.

Then when Rodney Purvis helped his team to cut things to seven, Trimble showed off the mid-range floater he added to his game to keep the team calm. Knocking off the rust from earlier in the season when he was not shooting the best from the line, the Upper Marlboro native calmly knocked down five in the final three minutes to seal the 76-66 victory.

Maryland’s point guard finished with 25 points on just 10 shot attempts and chipped in with three assists, three rebounds, two steals, and a block.

NEXT GAME: Maryland will return to Xfinity Center for a non-conference matchup against Maryland-Eastern Shore in the last game before arguably the best student section in the country leaves for Winter Break.

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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  1. […] off of their best win of the young season, the Maryland Terrapins took on Eastern Shore at home during a slow stretch […]

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