Terps fall to Mountaineers in Third Round


West Virginia plays a pressure defense that truly can wreak havoc on opposing teams.

Maryland found out the hard way just how maddening it can be as the Terps fell to the Mountaineers in their 69-59 loss in the Third Round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament on Sunday evening.

Maryland turned the ball over 23 times, despite shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 42.1 percent from beyond the arc.

The real story of the game was guard Melo Trimble. The freshman did manage to lead the Terps with 15 points, but was forced to leave the game in the second half.

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After attempting to deflect a West Virginia pass in transition, Trimble fell to the floor and was inadvertedly kneed in the head by center Damonte Dodd with 8:25 left in the game. Trimble was unable to return to the game and Maryland struggled to find a consistent ball-handler from that point forward.

Before Trimble’s exit, it was an extremely competitive contest that went back and forth.

Maryland fell behind 16-10 early, courtesy of West Virginia connecting on their first three attempts from beyond the arc. However, the Terps did battle right back.

Maryland put together a quick 6-0 run courtesy of a three-pointer from forward Evan Smotrycz and a three-point play from forward Jared Nickens. The six-point stretch allowed the Terps to tie the game at 16 with 12:28 remaining in the first half.

West Virginia came out with their traditional pressure defense and did not let up. On every Mountaineer miss, they tried to trap the Terps as soon as they attempted to move the ball across the timeline. In the early going, the Terps did a solid job breaking it as Trimble scored seven of Maryland’s first 10 points.

In the first half, the Terps shot 54.5 percent (12-of-22) from the floor while shooting 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from beyond the arc. Maryland’s efficient start led them to only trail 35-34 at halftime.

One of the biggest issues for Maryland in the opening half was their nine turnovers, a mind-boggling six coming from guard Dez Wells.

As the second half began, it was more of the same back-and-forth contest.

Dodd recorded the first basket as he rebounded a miss from guard Dez Wells and banked it home and was fouled (he made the free throw) to give the Terps a 37-35 lead.

West Virginia did bounce back and score the next five points to build a 40-37 lead. It seemed as though every time Maryland would score a basket, West Virginia would have an answer.

However, Maryland did fail to take the lead during a 3:09 stretch from the 15:22 to 12:13 minute mark. The Mountaineers missed five shots during that stretch, but the Terps turned the ball over three times during that time to help them out.

Then once the Trimble injury happened, things really went south for the Terps. The deficit hovered around eight points for the remainder of the game and it just seemed like too much to overcome.

Maryland’s road in the NCAA Tournament ended in Columbus on Sunday evening a little earlier than most thought it may have. With plenty of the key core likely returning next season, the Terps will likely be right back to make some noise in their second Big Ten campaign.