Melo Sinks Game-Winner as Maryland Edges Michigan State
Terrapins guard #2 Melo Trimble launches the game-winning jumper while Spartans defenders look on during Maryland's 63-60 home victory over Michigan State at the XFinity Center in College Park, MD on March 4, 2017. David Lovell / DC Sports Box
COLLEGE PARK, MD -  Melo Trimble hit one of the biggest shot in his career with 1.1 seconds remaining to lift Maryland over Michigan State 63-60. In what was billed as a game featuring a number of fantastic freshmen on Maryland’s senior day (including Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Nick Ward and three of Maryland’s starters), it was the junior guard that stole the show.
 
“Maryland did a good job,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. “I thought the difference in the game was they had some freshmen that played awfully well, but in money time, their junior, their superstar. Not only did he score baskets, but he made plays.”

With the win, the Maryland Terrapins (24-7, 12-6) finish with the no. 3 seed (tied for second-place) in the Big Ten Tournament. Michigan State (18-13, 10-8) had a chance to finish as the no. 3 seed with a win but instead lands at no. 6.

Trimble led Maryland with 16 points and regular starter Justin Jackson added 15 points from off the bench. The freshman Jackson gave way to senior L.G. Hill who started in his place and added two points in 10 minutes. Fellow senior Damonte Dodd finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting.

“I didn’t cry. But it was great. Four years here at Maryland, it’s a great school,” said Dodd who, along with Hill, was honored before the game. “They gave me an opportunity and I’m thankful for that. It was great. Family was here, people I haven’t seen in ages, all around just a good day and we got the win.”

Terrapins guard #2 Melo Trimble launches the game-winning jumper while Spartans defenders look on during Maryland's 63-60 home victory over Michigan State at the XFinity Center in College Park, MD on March 4, 2017. David Lovell / DC Sports Box
Ward led the Spartans with 22 points and 16 rebounds and Bridges added 18 points and 8 rebounds. In a back and forth game that featured 16 lead changes, Ward tied the game on a layup with 3:11 remaining. Over the next 3:10 neither team could buy a bucket.

Michigan State had the ball with six seconds remaining but mishandled the inbound under its own basket to turn it over to Maryland. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon then drew up a play to get Trimble the ball going downhill. Turgeon wanted Trimble to seek a foul call or pass it up to an open teammate if he couldn’t find an opening. Instead, Trimble pulled up from 25-feet out to drill the three-pointer.

Trimble, a 33 percent 3-point shooter this season, had confidence he’d make the shot and blocked everything else out.

“I didn’t hear (Turgeon) say that,” Trimble told reporters. “I think of myself as a great shooter, obviously I couldn’t make every shot but I felt in a rhythm and I made it.”

 “We had Melo take it out and then we wanted to give the ball back to him,” said Turgeon. “They put two guys up and they played good defense against him. Justin Jackson made a great play and got it back to Melo. I told every referee that they were going to foul Melo. Then he pulls up and makes the three.”

The opposing coach, Izzo was also asked about Trimble following the game.

“He is more of a man to me,” said Izzo. “He takes it right at you. He used to stir the drink, but now he stirred it, made it, and drank it. I give him credit for that. It’s fun in this day and age when you actually get to see somebody grow. It’s going to benefit him. He’s giving himself a chance. I respect what he’s done.”

"I’ve just grown as a player and got more mature,” Trimble told reporters after hearing about the Izzo’s comments.  “He’s a really good coach. Just to hear his praise about me means a lot to me.”

In classic Izzo fashion, he followed up by saying, “I didn’t want to say hello to him in the line because I was mad at him for what he did to me, but I also respected it so I told him I was proud of him.”

The Terps finish with their first back-to-back win since February 15 (at Northwestern) and a record of 5-4 at Xfinity Center.

With the no. 2 seed, Maryland has earned a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament. The Terrapins will be off until Wednesday with their first game on Friday due to the bye and the fact that the tournament will be at Verizon Center in Washington, DC this year. Maryland will take on the winner of Iowa vs. Indiana. Game is scheduled for March 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Written by Teddy Owusu