Nov 24, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) looks to pass during the first half against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
It certainly wasn’t easy in Maryland’s first game following their loss of star guard Dez Wells.
However, a stellar defensive effort and key free throws down the stretch helped the Terrapins to a narrow 61-56 win over Monmouth on Friday evening.
Guard Melo Trimble paced Maryland with 24 points (4-of-8 from the field), including making 13 out of 14 free throw attempts.
In their first game without Wells, the shots weren’t following for a large majority of the contest. The Terps only shot 37.8 percent from the field, including only 31.6 percent from beyond the arc.
The second half was where Maryland really struggled shooting the basketball.
With 16:29 remaining in the second half, Monmouth trimmed the Maryland lead to 36-30 on a sensational layup by Hawks guard Deon Jones. Trimble had checked in for a two-minutes stretch following a loose-ball foul that he committed on Hawks guard Justin Robinson with just two seconds left on the shot clock.
After making their first three shots of the second half, the Terrapins missed their next eight shots from the floor. It certainly didn’t help that Hawks forward Brice Kofane was wreaking havoc on the interior. Kofane made a solid defensive play to block Damonte Dodd at the rim. The Providence transfer had four blocks in the game.
With 9:48, forward Jake Layman broke the drought with a three. Maryland only connected on four shots from the field with just 5:43 remaining in the game.
Without Wells stepping up to make that key play, Maryland struggled to make shots throughout the game. Maryland’s defense did do a fantastic job defending Monmouth throughout most if the game.
The Hawks only shot 37 percent the entire game and Maryland forced them into 12 turnovers and also had four steals.
It was likely going to have to be one of Maryland’s talented young freshmen that made a play. And that is exactly what ended up happening.
With 4:51 left, forward Jared Nickens hit a huge three-pointer from the top of the circle to give the Terps a 50-40 lead. Before that make, Maryland had only converted five of their 18 attempts from beyond the arc.
Just about two minutes later, Trimble drew the defense to guard big man Michal Cekovsky, which allowed forward Evan Smotrycz to be wide-open underneath the rim for the easy bucket. That would give the Terps a 53-46 lead, and ultimately was one of the key baskets in Maryland grinding out the victory.
With 48.2 seconds left, Maryland’s defensive length appeared to be bothering Monmouth after the Hawks kept passing the ball around the perimeter. However, guard Andrew Nicholas connected on a three from the corner to cut the lead to 53-51. It was the closest that the game had been since the Terps led 7-5 early in the contest.
After a pair of free throws from Trimble, Max DiLeo connected from beyond the arc to make it a one-point game once again. Despite Trimble hitting a pair of free throws once again following the three-point shot, Jones hit a floater in the lane over a defending Cekovsky.
Trimble was able to hit four more shots from the charity stripe and grabbed one game-clinching rebound to give Maryland the narrow victory.
Trimble was definitely the difference in the game for Maryland. Layman was the only other Terp that scored in double figures as he added 14 points.
It definitely wasn’t the statement win that Maryland had in mind following winning the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship earlier in the week. However, it did show that the Terps are capable of winning without Wells.