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How Maryland basketball moved on from Minnesota to set up a win vs. Michigan

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It wasn't perfect, but Maryland bounced back from a brutal loss with a win it absolutely had to have.

Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

It wasn't an easy weekend for Mark Turgeon. His Maryland men's basketball team lost to a garishly bad opponent at Minnesota on Thursday, didn't arrive home until the wee hours of Friday morning and had less two days to get ready for a much tougher Michigan team that would visit College Park on Sunday.

"After the game, I really didn't say a lot. We were down. I was as down as you can be. I haven't eaten a lot of food since that game. I can't wait to eat; my stomach's up here growling," Turgeon said in Xfinity Center's media room, a half-hour after Maryland had outraced the Wolverines for an 86-82 win.

"I just told the guys that we're a heck of a basketball team," Maryland's coach went on. "'We're 22-5. We had a bad 10 minutes versus Wisconsin, which cost us the game, and we just weren't dialed in and ready to play at Minnesota and still could've won. Just don't forget who we are and what we're about.'"

Turgeon's players said he was gentle with them.

"Coach is great," senior Jake Layman said after scoring 16 points in his second-to-last home game at Maryland. "He didn't kill us or anything like that. He wanted us to get back to having fun and kind of being ourselves."

The coach told his players they needed to smile more.

"He is supposed to smile too," Robert Carter Jr. poked at Turgeon. "We're trying to smile, get back to being us. Melo [Trimble is] a happy, smiling guy. I smile from time to time. Rasheed [Sulaimon], he never smiles."

Sunday, Sulaimon smiled plenty

sulaimon smile

And Trimble:

Photos: Tommy Gilligan, USA TODAY Sports / Sung Min Kim, Testudo Times

The Terrapins needed this.

It wasn't prototypical Maryland, not per se. The Terps gave up more than a point per possession and 82 in total, becoming the first team to beat Michigan on an 80-plus-point scoring day during John Beilein's tenure in Ann Arbor. (The Wolverines had been 50-0.) Defense is Maryland's greatest strength, but that didn't play out here, with Michigan's Mark Donnal scoring 25 points on 13 stunningly easy field goal attempts.

But on defense, it could've been worse. Damonte Dodd played ferociously on the interior, following a 6-block effort at Minnesota with 2 blocks and 6 rebounds against the Wolverines, including a soulless obliteration of a Derrick Walton Jr. lay-in attempt during the first half.

dodd block

He altered shots across his 22 minutes, more than he's played in all but three games.

"It was a great crowd, and I had a pretty good defensive game against Minnesota," Dodd said. "I just tried to build off of that and be a rim-protector for the team. I think the team feels secure when I'm back there, so I just try to be that presence for us."

On offense, the story was mixed but all-in-all positive. Melo Trimble doesn't look completely out of the woods yet from an unusual slump, as he shot 3-of-10 from the field and had 7 turnovers, but his 7-of-8 night at the foul line is a very Melo Trimble kind of thing. Trimble labored against Michigan for a second time, but he managed some productivity anyway.

"He's so talented as a player. You try to to determine your angles with him and try to get good ball screen coverage, and he's been going to the line eight times in the past five games. How many times did he got to the line today?" Beilein asked during his own presser. The answer was eight. "That's why we lost."

Jared Nickens had 6 points on 2-of-4 3-point shooting – not an explosion, but a helpful recovery after he drained exactly one in his previous four games.

On the whole, Maryland scored 86 points, shot 44 percent on threes and 54 percent from the field. "That's really good," Turgeon noted, and, yes, it definitely is. The Terps' effective shooting rate, which weights 3-pointers, was a robust 60.5 percent. That's better than in any Maryland game (not counting the one against Bowie State) since the Terps dropped 100 points on Ohio State on Jan. 16.

Now Maryland moves forward. The Terps are in fair standings shape, with a shot to finish first or second in the Big Ten and games remaining at Purdue, against Illinois and at Indiana.

"A lot of coaches would love to be 23-5, alright? Would love to be 23-5 and have the players that I have," Turgeon said, "and have the opportunities that we have moving forward."