COLLEGE PARK -- Melo Trimble is not yet fully back to the player we’ve known him to be, but during Sunday’s win over Michigan in College Park we saw something we probably have not seen in more than a week.
There was that smile. And there seemed to be something fun about basketball again for him.
Though the sophomore still turned the ball over an uncharacteristic seven times, he scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the team’s 86-82 win over Michigan. He helped Maryland close out a Wolverine team that gave them fits all afternoon by committing no turnovers in the final nine minutes.
“I do think Melo looked more comfortable tonight and he made his free throws, which he had to do, made the two big ones late,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “Back in the right direction.”
Part of the credit goes to Michigan for how they were able to limit him to 3-of-10 shooting and force those seven turnovers. They took away his bread and butter, the pick and roll, by poking the ball away from him or forcing the ball out of his hands.
But Maryland still put up 86 points while their star point guard shot 3-of-10. That might be the best possible indication to Trimble -- who has been forcing the issue too much of late -- that he does not need to do everything for this team to be successful.
That should bring out some of the personality Trimble is known for and it can be infectious.
“Coach wanted us to smile more. He’s huge on that. Smile more, get back to being us,” forward Robert Carter, Jr. said. “We’re a happy team. We come out and enjoy the game, playing for each other.”
The bench may add a boost for Trimble, as well. Junior-college transfer Jaylen Brantley played perhaps his best game of the season when timing and circumstances are taken into account.
Ten minutes from Brantley where he simply holds the fort while Trimble gets a breather should be considered a win. If he is able to give the Terrapins what he did Sunday -- five points and three steals -- that could change things dramatically for the better.
“Everybody makes so much of Melo, but just remember this -- we were 17-15 before he got here,” Turgeon said postgame. “We’re 51-12 since he’s been here. Don’t forget that, guys, OK? I don’t. Love that kid.”