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How Trimble's spike in FT attempts affects Terps in NCAA tournament

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How Trimble's spike in FT attempts affects Terps in NCAA tournament

COLLEGE PARK -- Throughout the season, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon has dropped not-so-subtle hints about his displeasure with the officiating as it pertains to star point guard Melo Trimble.

Trimble, who got to the free-throw line an average of 6.9 times per game last season, saw his number of trips cut significantly to 4.9 this year.

But in the NCAA tournament, something has clicked. Through two games, Trimble has gotten to the line 23 times and hit 22 of those attempts. He was 9-of-9 in the team's win over South Dakota State and 13-of-14 to help Maryland punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 with a win over Hawaii.

So what changed from the regular season to the tournament?

"Nothing," Trimble said on Tuesday, smiling. "Just getting more calls and, I mean, there's nothing I can do to change that. Just don't worry about the calls and just play."

When the Maryland sophomore is able to get to the line at that rate, the offense changes. Free throws become a substitute for made field goals when the offense struggles in the half-court -- which it is prone to do -- or a supplementary piece that allows the Terrapins to create separation and put a team away, like they did against Hawaii in the second half of Sunday's Round of 32 game. 

MORE TERPS: 'WE'RE NOT SCARED'

For Trimble personally, it allows him to control tempo. If nothing comes of the first 20 seconds of a shot clock, he can attack the basket with the floor spread and draw a foul to create a point-scoring opportunity out of almost thin air. 

When he hits free throws at nearly an 88 percent clip, it is easy money.

"They called the games differently," Turgeon said Tuesday, acknowledging that it goes both ways. "We were in foul trouble in Spokane, especially the first game against South Dakota State. We were in unbelievable foul trouble and just trying to get through it and we did. 

"It's good to see Melo get there [to the free throw line]. It kind of opened things up for him and opened things up for the other players, too."

Turgeon went on to say that the game plan won't change. And why would it? After going 1-of-18 from three against Hawaii, you would expect that three-point shooting number to improve and it will need to if Maryland wants to beat Kansas. 

But it seems that the interior is where the focus should be until the Jayhawks take it away because that is what will create the good looks around the basket, the opportunities at the free-throw line, or the open shots from three if the Kansas defense collapses.

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Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to seek a career in the NBA.

Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon also says guard Dion Wiley will transfer before playing his senior season.

MORE TERPS: LEFTY DRIESELL IS FINALLY GOING TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Jackson averaged 10.5 points as a freshman before missing most of the 2017-18 season with a shoulder injury.

Jackson says, "After talking with my family and weighing my options, it's my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball."

Wiley appeared in 83 career games, playing a backup role on three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon.

Maryland was 19-13 this season, including 8-10 in the Big Ten, and failed to reach the postseason.

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

Long-time University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

This is according to NBC Sports Washington contributor Jon Feinstein.

Driesell coached the Terrapins for 17 seasons between 1969-86. While guiding the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Championship, Driesell transformed Maryland into a legitimate force in college basketball.

When hired by the Terps, Driesell famously announced that he wanted to turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East.” After only four seasons he had made it to two ACC Championship Games and his first Elite Eight appearance. His success opened the door not only for the program but the school to compete at the highest levels of competition.

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Maryland made it as high as the Elite Eight twice under the reign of Driesell. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and won one ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. At the time of his NIT Championship with the Terps in 1972, the NIT was held in a similar regard to the NCAA Tournament.

He is second on Maryland’s all-time wins list (348), behind Gary Williams’ 461. Driesell however, still holds the best win percentage of all Maryland coaches with 68.6 win percentage.

After Maryland, the former Duke basketball coached at James Madison for just short of a decade and ended his coaching days at Georgia State. Driesell also coached at Davidson before taking the Maryland job to combine for over 40 seasons at the head of a Division I basketball program.

The 86-year-old was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2007. He also the namesake for the NCAA’s best defensive player of the year award, which was first awarded in 2010.

The official announcement from the Naismith Hall of Fame will be during the Final Four on Saturday, March 31.

WANT MORE HOOPS?  Listen below as Troy Machir and Chick Hernandez discuss Lefty Driesell's legacy in the area and why the Terps icon was on the outside of the Hall of Fame for so long.