In its most important win to date, the Maryland men's basketball team attacked the rim to perfection against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament.
The Terps took 31 free throw attempts on Sunday, their fourth-most in a game this season and most against a Division I opponent in 2016. The team connected on 28 of them, good for 90.3 percent as a unit, gaining contributions from six of eight players who stepped on the court -- Damonte Dodd also got to the line, but missed his attempt.
Maryland guards Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon were back in some sort of flow against Hawaii, a rhythm that both hadn't found in the same game in quite some time. It wasn't found discovered pulling up for jump shots though, as the two shot a combined 8-for-21 from the field and 1-for-9 from long range; it was hard-earned drawing contact.
Sulaimon got the team going early. He made 4-of-4 free throw attempts in the first 10 minutes of the game, showing a focus on taking the ball to the cup rather than looking for teammates like he has in previous games.
It was a wise choice as he turned the ball over just twice and tallied the most points in a game he's scored in a month with 14. He finished 8-of-9 from the free throw line -- his second most tries of the season.
His backcourt teammate had a similar thought process, breaking out of his tendency to try to outshoot hIs slump.Trimble led the country in free throw attempts a season ago, but hasn't spent as much time there this season at nearly 2 less per game.
He returned to his freshman form in the best sense in the round of 32, taking what tied for his fourth most attempts ever at 14, sinking 13 of them. He finished with 24 points.
An aggressive form of Trimble is the best and most efficient one Maryland can hope for, especially as his shooting numbers have dropped this season. The Terps are 7-2 in games in which he's taken eight or more shots from the stripe.
Chances are Maryland won't shoot 5.6 percent from 3-point range ever again, but even if it does, the team has found a way to overcome it, at least to a point.
Kansas is a much more disciplined team from a defensive standpoint, but with Trimble's ability to create contact, the Terps should look to repeat much of what was successful in their win over Hawaii.