December 10, 2017

Trimble’s game-winner propels Terps past Michigan State, 63-60

Maryland players and Melo Trimbe react after Trimble's last-second 3 pushed the Terps past Michigan State on Saturday at the Xfinity Center. Photo courtesy of Maryland Terrapins athletics.

COLLEGE PARK — With 6.3 seconds left to play and the game locked at 60-all, in what could be his final appearance at the Xfinity Center, Melo Trimble did what he has done countless times in his basketball career at Maryland.

Trimble inbounded the ball to Justin Jackson and Jackson quickly fed the ball back to him. Trimble dribbled down the count as Michigan State’s Tum Tum Nairn shadowed him before Trimble pulled up outside the arc to drop the game-winning 3-pointer that pushed Maryland past Michigan State, 63-60.

As the Terps walked off the court, having secured at least a share of second place in the Big Ten with the win, the crowd began to chant “one more.”

“I told Melo to drive it, he shot the 3,” Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said. “He made it.”

Trimble, who said he did not think about if it was his last game at Xfinity, had different plans.

“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 can’t do it.’ but I kind of blocked that out and said shoot the 3,” Trimble said. “I’m 2-for-2 when he told me that. The other one was Wisconsin.”

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo wasn’t shocked.

“That’s what veteran guys do,” he said.

Melo Trimble and Kevin Huerter react after Maryland’s thrilling 63-60 win on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Maryland Terrapins athletics.

Trimble led Maryland in scoring with 16 points while freshmen Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan added 15 and 11, respectively.

Coming into the game, Jackson had struggled recently, failing to score more than 10 points in three of four games.

“I thought Justin was terrific today,” Turgeon said. ”He had bounce, he had lift he defended, played smart and made some shots. … It’s great, we need him.”

Cowan controlled the pace for the Terps in the second half, helping take the pressure off Trimble.

“[Cowan] did a really good job on both ends,” Trimble said. “He was able to really control their point guard and also run our team the way he is supposed to as a point guard … he was able to run the offense and create for others.”

Michigan State’s freshman duo of Miles Bridges and Nick Ward almost spoiled the Terps’ senior-night festivities. Ward and Bridges, a projected lottery pick, were the game’s two leading scorers at 22 and 18, respectively.

Maryland seniors Damonte Dodd (35) and L.G. Gill get honored on senior-day, along with the team managers. Photo courtesy of Maryland Terrapins athletics.

Ward added 16 rebounds and dominated down the stretch, scoring the Spartans’ final nine points. However, it was his turnover under the hoop with six seconds to play that left the game tied at 60-all before Trimble’s game-winning shot.

Maryland led 55-51 with six minutes to play before hitting a cold spell offensively, allowing the Spartans to storm back into the game. Jackson and Trimble kept the Terps in the lead down the stretch, but Ward tied the game with 3:11 left to play.

Neither team scored again until Trimble’s game-winner.

Both teams struggled to find rhythm in the first half, with neither side shooting over 37 percent in the first half. Neither team led by more than eight during the game and there were 10 ties and 18 lead changes.

Maryland’s Damonte Dodd added seven points and three rebounds in his final home game as a Terp. Fellow senior L.G. Gill added two points and one rebound.

Looking forward, Maryland will play on Friday at the Verizon Center in the quarterfinals of the Big 10 Tournament.

“We’re fired up,”Turgeon said. “We’re going into D.C.; we don’t have to get onto a plane.”

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