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Maryland got the Melo Trimble it's used to against Illinois

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The Terps' star sophomore stepped up his performance in the team's final home game of the season.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

College Park wasn't used to poor shooting from its superstar Melo Trimble, and after his 7-for-14 shooting performance for 18 points in Maryland's  81-55 home domination of Illinois, concerns from the past few weeks should start to fizzle out.

"I just needed to see a shot go down," Trimble said after Thursday's win. "I could feel myself feel happy again and smile. I haven't been smiling in a while. I just had to look in a mirror and see I have an okay smile and display it today on the court."

Trimble would make the student section his mirror early-on.

The even-tempered sophomore doesn't usually show the same kind of facial expressions his emotional backcourt teammate Rasheed Sulaimon does, but after he nailed his first 3-point attempt of the game, he let out a fist pump and showed his teeth to the Xfinity Center crowd.

He'd hit another one one from deep and drive in for two quick layups in 43 seconds in the second half to show what he's capable of when he gets himself going. He added 8 rebounds, 5 assists and a pair of steals during one of his most well-rounded performances of the season.

Trimble was shooting 14-for-60 over his past six games, and was in need of a confidence boost. A practice on Tuesday may have done it.

"I made everything," said Trimble with his eyes lit-up. "I felt fast. I felt like myself."

Feeling himself is all Maryland needs to make a run in the tournament, and Trimble returning to normalcy in the Terps' opening game in March is a good start, as the team heads into the most important stage of its season.

With the win, Maryland clinched a double-bye in next week's Big Ten tournament, which should help maintain Trimble's body.

"It's gonna help me out tremendously," said Trimble. "Coming into this game we had almost four days off and I was able to get recovery, stretch and get up shots. I know now to take care of my body. You know last year I was really young and I didn't know. Now I know it's very important to take care of your body and I felt great out there."

A healthy and effective Melo Trimble would do wonders for the Terps as they make two trips to Indiana - for their season finale on Sunday and the Big Ten Tournament next week.