The Maryland basketball team needed a complete team effort against Wisconsin on Sunday.
Unfortunately for the Terrapins, Melo Trimble scored 27 points and only one other player (Michal Cekovsky) scored in double figures in a 71-60 loss to the Badgers.
The loss put Maryland at a one-game deficit in the Big Ten and moved Wisconsin into a tie with Purdue for the conference lead. The Terps have four games over the next two weeks to try to make up the deficit before the Big Ten Tournament begins.
After a career-high 32-point performance against Northwestern last week, Trimble turned in another phenomenal outing. He scored 27 points (9-of-17 shooting), including connecting on 4-of-7 of his shots from beyond the arc.
Trimble scored eight points in the final the 2:56 of the first half. The former Bishop O’Connell (Va.) star splash home a pair of threes over the final 1:13 to give the Terps a 33-27 advantage at the break.
The Maryland guard wasn’t forcing his shot either. He was getting open looks and his teammates were finding him, at least in the first half.
Cekovsky also played a strong game despite some of his teammates not picking up the slack.
The Slovakian native scored 10 points (4-of-5) and blocked a pair of shots. It was arguably Cekovsky’s best game since returning from injury.
With 17:01 left in the second half, Cekovsky set a pick for Trimble and quickly rolled towards the basket. Trimble found him for a beautiful slam dunk to extend Maryland’s lead to 36-33.
Aside from Cekovsky and Trimble, no Terp scored more than six points. The other four Maryland starters combined for just 16 points (4-of-17).
Forward Justin Jackson’s struggles were the most notable.
In the final days of January, Jackson went on an absolute two-game tear. He averaged 25.0 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) from beyond the arc.
Over the five games since that stretch, he’s averaged just 7.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting just 33.3 percent (12-of-36) from the field. Jackson did manage to connect on 64.3 percent (9-of-14) of his three-point shots despite his overall struggles.
Jackson did get off on the right foot against the Badgers.
Just 1:14 into the game, Jackson was able to get free with the basketball after a pick from Anthony Cowan attracted two Wisconsin defenders. Jackson was able to step into a three and hit it.
After that make, Jackson missed his final four field goal attempts.
Jackson is such a dangerous player due to his ability to shoot from beyond the arc. He’s also a slasher of sorts that can get to the basket at a moment’s notice.
His production has been huge all season long and his absence offensively was part of the reason for Maryland’s struggles on the offensive end.
Cowan and Kevin Huerter didn’t fare much better as they shot a combined 3-of-11 from the field.
If Maryland would’ve gotten any type of production of its three freshmen, the outcome may have been quite different. It’s been a rare occurrence that all three failed to produce.
Secondary scoring is going to be have to there in the NCAA Tournament.
This could be a teaching point for coach Mark Turgeon and serve the Terps well the rest of the way this season.