A buzzer-beating NBA-range 3-pointer from sophomore sensation Melo Trimble with 1 second left in the game helped Maryland basketball stave off a late surge by Wisconsin, and the Terps won 63-60 at the Kohl Center Saturday.
Trimble took the reins for the No. 3 Terrapins, weaving his way in and out of the Badgers defense, scoring 21 points and adding 5 assists – a misleading number based on the number of assist opportunities his play presented.
The spotlight may have finished on Trimble, but it started on Diamond Stone, who returned to his home state of Wisconsin to take on the team he said no to a year ago to instead play for the Terrapins. Stone handled the hostility well early, breaking out some foul line-extended range, connecting on 1 of 2 attempts outside the paint. He picked up a second foul with 5 minutes remaining in the first half, checking out with 4 points and 2 steals in 8 minutes.
It was the Terps' starting center who stole the show early. Damonte Dodd missed a few easy tip-ins and traveled to waive off a wide-open dunk that would've added to his impressive numbers, but the lesser-known Terrapins center was a dominant force in Maryland's 4-point first half lead. Dodd had 9 points and 6 rebounds in 13 minutes and it was tough to keep him off the court. He showed finesse we haven't seen, nailing a mid-range jumper and shooting perfectly on three attempts from the free throw line. He and Trimble also had a nice pick-and-roll game.
Of course Dodd didn't do it on his own, as he's not a player who can truly create his own offense. Dodd ran the pick-and-roll to perfection with Trimble, serving as the benefactor of precision pocket passes from the preseason Big Ten Player of the year. Trimble hit 4 of 6 shots for 8 points before halftime.
The Terps got off to a slow start in the second half as they missed their first six attempts from the field. Badgers defenders put a focus on interior defense, keeping Dodd away from the rim.
Six minutes into the second half, Robert Carter broke Maryland's game-long 3-point drought for a team that averages eight makes per game. The transfer had a complete game with 14 points 11 rebounds and 4 blocks to bring the Terps' struggling defense to life.
Wisconsin held on tight until the final minutes where it went on a 4 minute and 14 second scoring drought which allowed Maryland to take an eight-point lead with 1:36 left.
The Terps watched that lead dwindle as the Badgers scored 5 points unanswered and held the ball down three with 40 seconds remaining. The game shifted to a star-studded 3-point duel as the Badgers' Bronson Koenig nailed a step-back three with 23 seconds left, to tie the game in dramatic fashion.
It was the reliable player of the year candidate who slowly dribbled the ball across halfcourt for Maryland, calmly dictating where he wanted to go for the final shot. From long-range Melo Trimble gave Maryland an impressive victory on the road, keeping the Terrapins perfect in conference play.
Three things to know
1. This was Damonte Dodd's breakout game. It's a strategy to bring Stone off the bench, but Dodd is a worthy starter, and a handful of Big Ten teams would be happy to have him as their primary big. He thrived off feeds from Trimble, and played one of the best offensive games of his career.
2. Maryland didn't hit a 3-point shot in the first half, and only took 2 attempts. Wisconsin scouted Maryland well, putting thorough defensive pressure on the 3-point arc, especially on Jared Nickens. The sophomore – who average nearly two makes per game – was only able to get one attempt off and it was a forced look which he missed. Carter hit the Terps' first make of the game at the 13:51 mark in the second half.
3. Melo stayed mellow. The cool, calm and collected remained as such hitting the dagger three to seal the game to silence a raucous crowd. The hamstring appeared to hold up just fine as the sophomore launched from NBA range.