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Maryland basketball's Melo Trimble is firing on all cylinders

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The sophomore delivered one of the most efficient games of his career on Saturday.

When Melo Trimble took a pass from Rasheed Sulaimon on Saturday, he was laughing before he even caught the ball.
When Melo Trimble took a pass from Rasheed Sulaimon on Saturday, he was laughing before he even caught the ball.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

A few minutes into the second half of Maryland's basketball game against Eastern Shore on Saturday, the Terps started to sling the ball around. Robert Carter Jr. drove toward the basket, then found Rasheed Sulaimon in the corner. The Hawks' defenders started running around, and Melo Trimble found himself wide-open on the wing.

Then, Trimble started to laugh. Sulaimon kicked the ball over to him, and Trimble released. Swish.

"I was feeling it," Trimble said afterward. "I had already hit one, and when Rasheed got the ball, I knew he was going to make one more pass, just to get his assists up. And I knew as soon as I caught it, I was going to make it. So I was pretty excited."

It was part of a masterful day at the office for Trimble, who scored 18 points on just 6 shots from the field. He was 4 of 4 on 3-pointers, bringing his season beyond-the-arc rate up from 33 to 41 percent. He had 4 rebounds. He had 1 assist, deferring mostly in the playmaking department to Rasheed Sulaimon, who had a career-high 10.

"He has a feel that you can't teach," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He knows when he needs to do it and when he doesn't need to do it. That's what makes him who he is."

UMES, now 1-9 on the season, had nobody who could credibly match up on Trimble one-to-one. So the Hawks sagged away from him on defense, and Trimble carved them up. Jared Nickens, who had 12 points of his own, said he could tell quickly what kind of outing it would be for his fellow sophomore.

"I can tell, kind of, by how the other team's defense is when we start the game, if they're going to pressure him or sag off. I can tell if he's going to get a lot of shots or be able to get to the rim and drive and kick," Nickens said. "He just has a great feel for the game, and he can read defenses well."

Trimble is now very much heating up. Save for a 3-point wash in a Maryland blowout against St. Francis last weekend, he has dominated lately. In his last four games, he's scored 69 points on 33 shots from the field. That includes two dominant jobs against North Carolina and Connecticut, plus Saturday's effort against overmatched UMES. On points-per-shot efficiency, this was one of Trimble's best games ever.

Turgeon, really, has just had to avoid getting in his way.

"I don't ever tell Melo what to do, unless it's a bad shot," Turgeon said. "What I mean by that is he just goes with the flow of the game and if it's there for him, he will take it."