There were several positives to take from the Maryland basketball team’s win on Thursday.
However, the biggest may be the return of the Melo Trimble of old.
Trimble turned in a spectacular performance in which he scored 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out five assists in a 81-55 Terrapins win. The former Bishop O’Connell (Va.) star also took care of the basketball and only turned it over on two occasions.
Trimble certainly played like the player he has been during his two years in College Park. The sophomore guard shot the ball well from perimeter, drove to the basket, and made it all look effortless.
From the opening tip, Trimble looked to be playing an impressive brand of basketball.
With 17:33 left in the first half, Trimble was aided by penetration towards the basket by Rasheed Sulaimon. When Sulaimon drew defenders into the lane, he tossed it back out to the wing where Trimble has patiently waiting. Trimble was able to get off his shot unguarded and connected from beyond the arc on his first field goal attempt.
Trimble drilled two of his four attempts from beyond the arc on Thursday night. Prior to that, the Maryland star had only connected on four of his last 16 attempts from three over the previous four games.
Even when Trimble’s shot wasn’t falling, he still displayed a very fluid jumper. This isn’t the type of player that is going to force shots that aren’t there as we’ve seen over his Maryland career.
Trimble also got to the rim multiple times against the Fighting Illini, which has been his bread and butter at the collegiate level.
At the 12:11 mark of the first half, Trimble was coming off a missed layup on the offensive end. However, he was able to steal the ball away from Illinois’ Kendrick Nunn and started the fast break for Maryland.
As the Terps slowed things down and set up their offense, Jaylen Brantley tossed the basketball over Trimble on the wing and the star sophomore did the rest. Trimble immediately made the decision to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. He absorbed contact from Nunn right at the basket and was able to complete the layup.
Not even a minute later, Trimble worked his magic once again. He used a ball screen from Damonte Dodd at the top of the key and knifed his way to the rim for an easy two points.
By that point, Trimble had scored seven of Maryland’s first 15 points.
Early in the second half, Illinois struggled to determine what style of defense they should play against Maryland. Trimble and the Terps showed the Illini why the two-three zone can be a double-edged sword at times.
With 17:31 to go, Illinois had their two-three zone defense in full force. Sulaimon received a pass from Trimble and with Illinois’ five players packed in the middle of the frontcourt, he dished it back out to Trimble. Trimble had a wide-open three-point shot and he certainly didn’t miss.
On several occasions on Thursday, Trimble found himself open and ready to shoot due to the Illini running their two-three zone or simply not being able to rotate over quick enough.
Trimble just looked like the Trimble that we’ve been accustomed to seeing over the past two seasons. He looked supremely confident of his abilities and played with fire.
If Trimble continues to play like this for the remainder of the season, Maryland could be a very dangerous team in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments this month.