Coming into their first game of the tournament, Maryland was locked in.
From the tip, Maryland was playing amazing basketball, showing that the great performances in the Big ten Tournament were not flukes. Maryland jumped out to and 8-3 lead by the under-16 timeout, and they look like their confidence was back.
Sophomore guard Melo Trimble carried the team in the first half, scoring 15 of his 19 total points, including going 7/7 from the free throw line. As of of late Trimble has been showing flashes of his freshman-self, and now that the team is in tournament play, he has drawn more whistles than in Big Ten play.
South Dakota State is a team that likes to spread the floor and shoot the three, which they were not shy with their shooting, as they shot 29 threes and only made 10 for a whopping 34.5 percent. Maryland on the other side, was trying to work the paint, but Layman was lighting it up from deep, going 5 for 8 and helping the Terrapins avoid letting the Jackrabbits get too close.
At the half Maryland had a comfortable 34-22 lead. As compared to the other games in this tournament, including two 5-seeds losing already, Maryland looked like it was handling it’s business for once.
The second half, Maryland came out firing from deep, dribbling around outside, and not getting the ball inside, which allowed South Dakota State to hang around.
Coach Mark Turgeon post game said “I thought for 36 minutes, we were really good”. But those final four minutes were just horrendous. The Jackrabbits were making a furious comeback, and with a minute to go, Trimble committed his fifth foul on a three point attempt. South Dakota State would go on to make all three, pulling within two, but Maryland ended up pulling away.
Jaylen Brantley was the hero in the final possession as he hung with the Jackrabbits’s point guard and caused him to pick up his dribble, and fumble the ball away into Rasheed Sulaimon’s hands. Sulaimon would take it to the other end and slam it home to end the game at 79-75
Trimble said afterwards, “It was tough to be on the bench at the end of the game, I usually like to hit the last free throws to end the game”.
Senior Jake Layman led the team with 29 points, going 5 for 8 from three. Layman just described himself as “a more mature and confident player”.
Maryland will need the same fire that they had at the start against a really good Hawai’i team. Hawai’i upset 4th seeded California, for their first tournament win in school history. This matchup is set for 7:10 pm est on Sunday night.