Maryland basketball’s 2017 NCAA Tournament run only briefly got off the ground.
The No. 6 seed Terps followed up a one-point halftime lead with a 10-5 run to start the second half, but fell, 76-65, to No. 11 seed Xavier.
Maryland fell cold while its opponent caught fire once again, and suffered a season-ending loss that somewhat echoed its Big Ten Tournament loss against Northwestern. Xavier shot 50 percent for the game, while Maryland only mustered 40 percent, only shooting 7-for-27 from three. Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, carrying the Musketeers to victory.
Maryland could never get its offense going after an extremely poor offensive start . The Terps hit three of their first 13 shots, going through two separate four-minute scoring droughts in the first half. They figured out Xavier’s zone for a while, but their success didn’t last.
Kevin Huerter whipped a pass inside for an Ivan Bender layup, then hit a deep three to cut Xavier’s lead to three. The Musketeers beefed their lead back up to five, but the Terps were undeterred. A turnover, then another, then another. They finally took back the lead on a Melo Trimble steal, which he converted into a layup with 16 seconds left to make it 36-35.
Xavier ripped off a 7-0 run to quiet any thoughts of Maryland running away with it, and a layup from Sean O’Mara gave Xavier the lead back. Back-to-back threes from Bluiett capped an 18-4 run, and Maryland was on a familiar five-minute scoring drought. A pass slipped through Melo Trimble’s hands, and Maryland was down 61-50.
The Musketeers’ lead shrunk down to seven on two separate occasions, and to six once. That was all Maryland could do. Mark Turgeon, Melo Trimble and the Terps could only watch as Xavier players stormed the court, mobbing each other as they stayed alive until Saturday.
Three things to know
- Maryland’s NCAA Tournament run ended just as its Big Ten Tournament campaign did. The Terps had a halftime lead, then looked good to start the second, then stopped scoring. All that is true of this game, and of Maryland’s loss to Northwestern in last week’s Big Ten tournament. The Terps went one-and-done in each, and their season is over.
- Melo Trimble, Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson carried Maryland’s offense. Those three scored 46 points, while the rest of the team had 19. Xavier’s bench outscored Maryland’s 30-13. Turgeon needed more balanced production, and didn’t get it.
- This might have been Melo Trimble’s last game at Maryland. He wasn’t particularly efficient, but still had 13 points. Trimble’s storied career as a Terp could be over, as he’ll declare for the NBA Draft soon. He’ll have the option of taking his name out of the running for the draft if he doesn’t hire an agent, but after doing this same song and dance a year ago, the chance he leaves seems greater than it was last time.