Maryland men’s basketball and Georgetown haven’t played against one another since 1993.
On Tuesday, the Terps wrote some history of their own in a 75-71 win over the Hoyas.
Despite trailing by seven points late in the second half, Maryland never wavered. The Terps were paced by an extremely productive backcourt of Melo Trimble (24 points) and Rasheed Sulaimon (10 points & seven assists).
“We knew he (Sulaimon) was going to be fine in these big games,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “He’s older and he’s a senior. That’s one thing that I liked about our team. I think our team always that we were going to win even when it wasn’t looking good. His leadership was terrific and he’s a playmaker.”
Sulaimon hit the crucial three-pointer with 1:20 left to give Maryland a 71-68 lead. The former Duke standout connected on both of his attempts from beyond the arc on the night.
“It all started with Melo (Trimble),” Sulaimon said. “He had the ball in his hands and made a great play driving down the lane. He made a great read kicking it to Jake (Layman). Jake is a great shooter, but that speaks volumes to our team and the trust that we have in each other. He could’ve take the shot easily, but he thought I had a better shot. When he passed it to me, that just gave me great confidence.”
The Terps did have four different players score in double figures, including forward Robert Carter who scored 12 points and led the team in rebounding (8) for the second consecutive game.
Maryland did play somewhat tight at times and seemed like they were battling a great deal of adversity. However, the Terps did finish the game by outscoring Georgetown 7-2 in the final 1:20.
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“We were a little bit rushed,” Turgeon said. “What a great game. I guess that’s why they call it a rivalry game. Georgetown was great and we were lucky to win. We’ll take it.”
Georgetown got off to a hot start as they started the game on a 9-0 run. Sophomore forward Isaac Copeland made a pair of jumpers to pace the Hoyas during the first 2:08.
One of the biggest reasons for Maryland’s early struggles was Trimble’s slow start. The former Bishop O’Connell (Va.) star missed his first three shots and didn’t score his first points until he hit a three-pointer with 4:14 to go in the opening half.
“I just don’t rely on my jump shot,” Trimble said. “I like getting to the basket and drawing fouls. That’s what I’m good at. That’s one of my strengths. That’s for everyone. When your shot’s not falling, Coach always wants us to get to the rim.”
Trimble did end up scoring 17 of his 24 points in the second half, including 12 from the free throw line.
Maryland did rebound to get back into the game despite the slow start. Forward Michal Cekovsky gave the Terrapins a 12-11 lead on a slam dunk with 13:32 remaining in the first half.
Cekovsky had a very strong game as he scored four points and grabbed three rebounds. The sophomore big man also recorded two steals and a block.
It was a back-and-forth affair for the majority of the first half with each team leading at times. Sulaimon drilled a three-pointer with 26 seconds left in the opening half to tie the game at 33 heading into the break.
Much like the beginning of the game, Georgetown came out playing with fire in the second half.
With 3:55 left, Trimble brought the Terps back as he connected on a shot from beyond the arc to tie the game at 61. Maryland took the lead at 66-63 after a two-point jumper from Jared Nickens and a three-pointer from Jake Layman.
“I told our guys that we needed this,” Turgeon said. “This was great. It was exactly what we needed. We figured out how to win the game. It lets them know that we’re not invincible.”
Maryland certainly dealt with their fair share of adversity during Tuesday’s game.
The Terps got outrebounded 36-28 by the Hoyas, including allowing 10 offensive rebounds. Maryland also missed nine free throws, including five from Trimble.
Maryland did end up connecting on five of their final six shots, which proved to be the difference in the game.
“It just shows if two players aren’t scoring, it doesn’t mean that our offense isn’t going to click. It showed tonight.”