COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Melo Trimble, surrounded by microphones and cameras after Maryland’s 68-66 win over Indiana, laughed.
“I knew it was going to come down to a three-pointer,” he said, some red still in his eye from that poke three days ago at Iowa, and now revelations that he has been playing a couple of games with a bad back.
Suffice to say the prized freshman was feeling no pain after he and Dez Wells each had 18 points to out-duel the Hoosiers’ Yogi Ferrell, who 19th-ranked Maryland “held” to 6-of-9 3-point shooting and 23 points in the important victory. Ferrell hit 7-of-8 from deep last time, and had 24 points in Maryland’s worst loss (89-70) of the season, and one that started everyone, including the Terrapins questioning Maryland’s lofting rankings and success so far.
The Terrapins (20-5, 8-4) had dropped three of their last five, starting with that setback, and the Hoosiers were just an eyelash away from dealing more heartbreak at Xfinity Center before a crowd of 15,304.
“Our message to the team Sunday night (after the 71-55 loss at Iowa) was ‘what are you going to do to make your teammate better?’” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. “Then at our meeting we talked about having a sense of urgency. We’ve been practicing great for about 10 days now, and eventually it will click during games.”
That urgency was based on what the Hoosiers did to Maryland in the first meeting. Indiana (17-8, 7-5) registered Terrapin opponent highs of 89 points, 30 field goals, 15 3-pointers made and .682 shooting behind the arc.
This time around, Maryland defended better, closed out on shooters, helped better and got the big stop at the end, though it wasn’t easy.
“We did not want the ball in Yogi’s hands down the stretch,” said Jake Layman, who had 14 points and a team-high seven rebounds. “He got it and got a good look but luckily missed it for us. Richaud (Pack) played great ‘D,’ tried to get a hand up.”
Down two, the Hoosiers inbounded with 12.5 seconds remaining, and Pack shadowing Terrapin-killer Ferrell down the court. Ferrell put on a move near the top of the key and got enough daylight to launch a three that missed and caromed to the right where after a scuffle – who else? – Ferrell corralled it and got off another shot, one that would have tied the game.
“The first shot went up and I thought it was gutsy (shooting a three) and that they were trying to win,” said Turgeon. “I was hoping he would miss just like every other fan. We ran into each other (trying to get the rebound). We got the stop. I don’t care how you do it.”
Ferrell missed again, as Indiana did – finally – much of the second half, the Terrapins holding them to 37.1 percent shooting overall the last 20 minutes and just 4-of-15 from 3-point range. Ferrell was just 4-of-11 in the second half, a factor Turgeon thought his 37 minutes carrying the Hoosiers caused. Overall, Ferrell was 8-of-16, hit another boatload of threes and had six assists and five rebounds.
Trimble was 6-of-12 from the field, 4-of-4 at the line and had five rebounds in 36 minutes. He said the back injury has been a factor in his recent shooting slump, hurting his elevation on jumpers, but no one was complaining after the harrowing victory.
“Melo has been playing injured for about three games,” said Turgeon. “Defensively I though Melo played Yogi really well.”
“It’s a good feeling finally to get some shots to go down,” said Trimble. “It was a great matchup between me and him and I’m just glad I stepped up to the challenge.”
The game was a big of vindication for Layman, too. The Hoosiers isolated and attacked him off the dribble often, and he had famously had a season low two rebounds in the loss at Iowa. Layman finally corralled the final, decisive rebound as time ran out.
“We had disciplined close-outs,” said Layman of the difference defensively in the two meetings with IU. “Last game, after watching the film, they were blowing right by us on the perimeter. Tonight I think we did a good job of containing them, and it was good.”
Indiana finished 25-67 (37.3 percent) from the field and was still good (10-of-25, 40 percent) from 3-point range but not overwhelming like they were last meeting (15-of-22).
Pack, who got his second start in the last four games, helped the defense, as did Damonte Dodd, who had four blocks and three rebounds though he didn’t score. “One guy who played well tonight was Damonte,” said Layman. “It was good to get him back playing well, just doing the things he has to do to help our team – block shots, a rim-protector for us, and he did that tonight.”
In a game that saw the lead change hands 18 times with seven ties, the Terrapins went ahead for the last time in the final 61 seconds. The score was tied 61-61, when Indiana’s Colin Hartman missed a jumper and Wells grabbed the rebound, part of a 35-33 edge for Maryland in that department. The Terrapins spread the floor and got a mismatch when Trimble forced James Blackmon onto Layman on a switch.
Layman hit a runner to make it 63-61 at 1:01, and then after Blackmon missed a 3-pointer, Pack snared the rebound and Trimble wound up with two free throws at 29.6 seconds to stretch the lead to four. Ferrell broke down the defense and Troy Williams got a tip-in of his miss at 22.8 seconds. Williams finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
Layman hit two free throws at 19.2, to push the lead back to 67-63, but Ferrell had another bullet in his Terrapin gun, hitting a tough three to make it a one-point game at 14.3 seconds.
Wells, who had a 7-for-13 night from the field in 36 minutes, hit one of two at the line to put what would be the final margin on the scoreboard with 12.5 left.
“I told the guys that we need them to be confident, poised and come in to play freely,” said Wells. “Just play like you have nothing to lose. We needed players to get into the mindset to play freely because that’s what we had to do to play the way we were at the beginning of the season.”
Wells was involved in the key sequence that gave Maryland a little margin down the stretch. The Terrapins got a four-point trip in the nip-and-tuck game when Wells hit a free throw and Layman corralled the miss on the second shot.
Trimble fed Jared Nickens on the baseline and the freshman drained it for a 55-51 lead at 5:46. When Wells scored again after a Dodd rejection on Ferrell, the Terrapins had their largest lead of the game at 57-51.
But Robert Johnson hit a three and then nearly a minute and a half later at 3:37, Ferrell banked in a three to tie it up again at 57-57. It wasn’t the only amazing 3-pointer the IU freshman hit. His three in the first two minutes of the game came on a play where Turgeon described Trimble as “shaking hands” with Ferrell as he drained a tough fall-away triple. He had another one at the shot clock in the second half, too.
After a timeout, Layman drove in and hit a fall-away at 3:10, but Robert Johnson answered for IU on the next possession. Trimble missed a jumper and Indiana went in front when Williams stuck in Johnson’s miss with 1:50 remaining to make it 61-59.
Wells hit a driving one-hander 12 seconds later to re-tie the affair.
“We had the mindset to just start playing,” explained Trimble of much more consistent offense from the Terrapins. “We weren’t feeling sorry for ourselves. We wanted to come into this game and play basketball and get back to how we were playing at the beginning of the season.”
Earlier, Wells hit a 3-pointer at 16:33 to put Maryland ahead 42-40. Trimble scored on a nifty scoop inside. When Nickens hit a baseline three at 13:50, the Terps were up 47-42. Nick Zeisloft hit a big three off a Maryland turnover, though, and when Blackmon got a dunk and three-point play, he pulled the rim down as the ball trickled in, but Indiana went up 48-47 with 9:28 to
Trimble coolly canned a 3-pointer 17 seconds later.
Both teams were clamping down defensively but when Ferrell scored on a drive at 6:14, the game was tied again at 51-51.
Blackmon, who had 22 points in the first meeting, was held to five this time around.
Layman hit a three to open the second half and both teams picked up where they left off at the end of a first half that had turned into a shootout. The Terrapins were back up five but it didn’t last long. Hartman and Williams got back-to-back scores inside and tied the game at 38-38 at 18:02. A Pack free throw put the Terps ahead but Ferrell scored on a drive to put Indiana back in front.
Maryland shot 49 percent (24-of-49) for the game and was 10-of-21 from 3-point range (47.6 percent).
Layman was 5-of-6 from the field but had five turnovers. Pack was 1-of-5 but chipped in six rebounds, his most in 13 games. He also had three blocks, part of Maryland’s 8 rejections.
Evan Smotrycz, continuing to get healthier and look better on the floor, had seven points and four rebounds, including two 3-pointers. “I thought Evan looked like himself tonight,” said Turgeon. “I’m happy for him because it has been a tough year. Defensively, he was terrific. He’s a smart player and he always gets the guys in the right spots.”
Nickens finished with six points, hitting 2-of-3 from distance, and Jon Graham had six rebounds and a basket.
“A lot of the guys played well and they had to us for us to get the win,” said the coach.
Maryland had led 35-34 at the half, regaining the lead on a Trimble drive with 35.3 seconds left. Hanner Mosquera-Perea had just put the Hoosiers ahead with a stickback in a first 20 minutes where the lead changed hands 12 times with one tie.
Maryland led by four and five a couple of times, the last at 3:54. Trimble hit a 3-pointer to make it 30-25. But Indiana stormed back, Ferrell hitting back-to-back threes, the second from the corner where he was fouled by Pack as he followed through. The 4-point play put IU ahead 32-30 at 2:34.
Earlier, Wells and Layman hit back-to-back threes to put Maryland up 22-17 at 7:35. But Hartman hit a three for Indiana and Johnson followed with another and the Hoosiers were up 23-22. So Wells scored in transition and then fed Smotrycz for a three and the Terps were ahead 27-23 at 4:41.
Indiana overcame an early five-point deficit and the Hoosiers got their first lead at 12:14, when Mosquera-Perea got a stickback to make it 13-12. Wells, who was starting to find some success in the paint against a small IU lineup, hit a half hook to put the Terrapins back in front.
The Terps got off to a good start offensively, four players getting a touch on the first possession before Pack drove for a lay-up. Maryland hit three of first four shots but also had three turnovers in first four minutes. Six unanswered points – a Layman drive, two Trimble free throws and a Trimble 16-footer – put Maryland up 8-3 at 17:30.
The Terrapins travel to Penn State Feb. 14.
Terps Overcome Indiana and Yogi
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