Feb 11, 2015; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Dez Wells (44) is defended by Indiana Hoosiers guard Robert Johnson (4) at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland turned in arguably their best performance of the season in a 68-66 win over Indiana on Wednesday. The trio of Jake Layman, Melo Trimble, and Dez Wells paced the Terrapins and were always there when the team needed a big basket. While Indiana’s Yogi Ferrell had another strong performance from the perimeter, Maryland did get the final stop when they had to. Here are my takeaways from Wednesday’s Big Ten thriller.
- Three-point shooting – Maryland had one of their strongest performances of the entire season from the perimeter. The Terrapins shot their fourth-highest percentage from beyond the arc against the Hoosiers. Their 47.6 percent clip was only rivaled by games against Michigan State (52.4 percent), Indiana (50.0 percent), and Wagner (50.0 percent). The Terps had five players that connected on multiple three-point attempts, including two apiece from Jared Nickens and Evan Smotrycz off the bench. It was especially big for Nickens, who failed to score against Iowa and Penn State. In a game that’s as close as Wednesday’s was, hitting consistent outside shots becomes a huge aspect of the game for a team like Maryland that lacks post presence at times. If the Terps can continue to turn in a solid effort from beyond the arc, they’ll be a very dangerous team in March.
- Cut down turnovers – As impressive as the Indiana win was, Maryland still managed to turn over the basketball 13 times. That includes nine times between forward Jake Layman and guard Dez Wells, who did redeem themselves with key buckets down the stretch. For Wells, it can be expected at times due to his constant drives to the rim and playmaking ability. Obviously, you win some and you lose some. On the other hand, Layman is a player that generally takes care of the basketball. The Massachusetts native is arguably one of the biggest assets for Maryland late in the season. We saw how much of a force Layman can be in the low post when he finds himself battling at the power forward spot. In the low post, he has to be able to take care of the basketball in order to be an opposing threat to other teams. In the four games prior to Wednesday, Layman had only coughed up the ball four times, so it may have just been a bad game for the Maryland star.
- Rejections – Maryland has come to be a much better defensive team than many gave them credit for entering the season. Against the Hoosiers, the Terps recorded eight blocks, including seven from center Damonte Dodd (four) and guard Richaud Pack (three). Guard Melo Trimble also had a rejection in the win. For a team that hasn’t gotten consistent post play this season, Maryland manages to turn aside their fair share of shots. The Terps rank fifth in the Big Ten with 4.4 blocked shots-per-game and have 111 on the season. Purdue leads the conference with 5.6 blocked shots-per-game and 140 rejections. Dodd is seventh in the Big Ten with 1.6 blocked shots-per-game and has provided a ton of rejections so far. The Eastern Shore native is a high-energy player that can alter any shot coming his way. The combinations of guys like Dodd, Layman, and Pack have proved to pay dividends for the Terps and could continue to do so.
- Trimble playing like a veteran – Maryland’s freshman sensation has had a few bumps in the road as of late, but turned in a phenomenal performance against Indiana. After scoring a combined total of seven points against Ohio State and Penn State, Trimble had about as good a game as you can have against a good team like the Hoosiers. The Bishop O’Connell product scored 18 points and grabbed five rebounds, in addition to shooting 50 percent from the field. As usual, Trimble used the charity stripe to his advantage as he connected on all four of his free throw attempts, including two of the biggest ones of the game that gave Maryland a 65-61 lead. Trimble is just so wise beyond his years and continues to impress the college basketball world night in and night out.