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Maryland cruises past Northwestern: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland cruises past Northwestern: 5 things you need to know

This was finally a spotlight game where the Maryland Terrapins looked like the nation’s No. 4 team from nearly start to finish.

Sophomore Melo Trimble approached triple-double territory on an impressive evening in a 72-57 Maryland victory over Northwestern on Saturday night in Evanston, Ill. Trimble finished with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and eight assists.

Four other players scored eight or more points in a balanced victory. Here are five things you need to know.

1) Diamond Stone a spark off the bench (again)

After Maryland’s five-star freshman broke school records in the team’s comeback win against Penn State, there seemed to be a question as to whether or not he would again come off the bench against Northwestern or if Turgeon would re-insert him into the starting lineup.

He came off the bench and he had an immediate impact.

Coming into the game around the 16-minute mark, Stone scored on the next two offensive possessions and had eight points by halftime. That kick-started the attack on Saturday night. Stone finished with 10 points to go along with three rebounds and two blocks.

2) Why the offense worked

Maryland has trouble vs. zones. Northwestern came out in a zone. So once Stone came into the game, they just starting running past it.

By going in transition to keep Northwestern from setting up the zone and by hitting shots from the outside when they were forced into half-court sets, Maryland got on a roll. The Terrapins were +7 in turnover margin in the first half, when led to run-outs and easy buckets.

Rasheed Sulaimon, coming off a rough outing against Penn State, started 5-for-5 from the floor for 13 points in the first half. He and Stone together scored more points in the first half (21) than the entire Northwestern team (20).

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3) The crowd stays in it

Give Northwestern’s crowd credit. When many fan bases might have lost enthusiasm, the Wildcat fans stayed in it. The Terrapin lead grew to more than 20, but there was no loss of energy.

Even with the lead at 15 with under nine minutes to play, you might have thought it was a one-point game.

4) Always had an answer

When the crowd was in it, though, Maryland always seemed to have an answer to stop a small run from becoming a momentum-changing one.

Maryland lead slipped to “only” 14 points with just over 12 minutes to when Melo Trimble answered with a three. With under 10 minutes to play, the lead was down to 14 again. Sulaimon answered with a three of his own.

Give major credit to the Maryland backcourt. Trimble was in point guard mode and scoring mode at different points in the game, transitioning seamlessly between the two to nearly register a triple-double on the night.

Sulaimon was nearly as impressive, posting 16 points, six assists, and five rebounds. Guard play wins in March and there may not be a backcourt in the country continuing to grow and improve (with such a high ceiling) as much as Trimble and Sulaimon.

5) First road test a win

Northwestern’s gym was not an easy one to walk into and get a win. The crowd kept the pressure on and Maryland responded, giving glimpses of the type of team this can be and the type of ceiling that they can have.

It was running how they want it to -- even offense and aggressive defense, multiple figures in or near double figures, and a clean, tidy game. In hour hour and 50 minutes, Maryland got the win.

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Investigation finds Maryland culpable in death of player

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USA Today

Investigation finds Maryland culpable in death of player

TOWSON, Md. -- An independent investigation into the death of University of Maryland football player Jordan McNair has determined that trainers on the scene did not follow proper procedures after he collapsed on the field.

McNair was hospitalized on May 29 after a team workout and died June 13. The family attorney said the cause of death was heatstroke.

Dr. Rod Walters, a former college athletic trainer and sports medicine consultant who led the investigation launched by the school following McNair's death, said Friday "there was a failure to identify symptoms and aggressively treat it."

Maryland athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged last month that "mistakes were made" by the training staff in the treatment of McNair, a 19-year-old sophomore offensive lineman. University President Wallace Loh visited McNair's parents to offer a personal apology for how the situation was handled.

The report released Friday stated that there appeared to be a failure to recognize the severity of the incident and that when the severity was identified, inadequate cooling devices were used in place of cold water immersion or cold whirlpools.

Terrapins head coach DJ Durkin is on administrative leave while an unrelated external investigation into the culture of the football program is being conducted.

According to the report, Durkin was on the scene when McNair collapsed. His role in the events that followed was not made clear.

Much of Walters' report focused on recommendations that would enable a tragedy like this from happening again.

In a release issued before the news conference began, the university wrote: "We made immediate changes following Jordan's death and have continued to make enhancements informed by the preliminary observations of the external review we received this summer."

The list of changes already implemented, according to the school, include an increase in doctors and training at practices and games; additional on-site cooling stations to football training camp and practices consisting of portable spray misters, recovery drinks and cooling towels; and increasing the number and length of recovery breaks.

Officials say the changes were made after receiving preliminary observations of Walker's findings.

Maryland athletic director Damon Evans acknowledged last month that "mistakes were made" by the training staff in the treatment of McNair, a 19-year-old sophomore offensive lineman.

Loh was very candid last month when talking about the school's role in McNair's death.

"They entrusted their son to us, and he did not return home," Loh said of McNair's parents. "The University accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that were made on that fateful day. ... They misdiagnosed the situation."

On that day, the law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, which represents the McNair family, wrote in a statement: "While Marty and Tonya will never get another day with Jordan, Dr. Loh's words were meaningful to them and give them some comfort that he will put the University on the path to change the culture of the program so that no Terrapin family will have to endure the heartache and grief that they feel."

In the wake of McNair's death, an ESPN story reported that the coaching staff engaged in physical and mental abuse of the players.

Durkin was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 11. Strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigned two days later, and head trainer Wes Robinson, along with Steve Nordwall, an assistant athletic director for training, remain on administrative leave.

Loh distinguished between training staff and coaching staff when he spoke about mistakes that led to McNair's death, but added the reports of "bullying behavior" by football coaches "are totally inconsistent with what we stand for, and our values."

The Walters review was one of two separate ongoing investigations being overseen by the Board of Regents. In addition, an eight-member commission has been appointed to look into the culture of the football program.

That investigation is ongoing.

"The Board of Regents is committed to uncovering all the discoverable facts about Jordan McNair's tragic death, and separately, the culture of the football program," Board of Regents Chair James Brady said.

Offensive coordinator Matt Canada has been serving as interim coach. Maryland is 2-1 heading into Saturday's Big Ten opener against Minnesota at home.

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Vernon Davis writes a letter to the Maryland Terrapins football team in the Players' Tribune

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USA Today Sports Images

Vernon Davis writes a letter to the Maryland Terrapins football team in the Players' Tribune

The 2018 Maryland football team was faced with a hardship that no team ever dreams of going through. Having to overcome the pain of losing their teammate Jordan McNair, then taking the field in competition is an obstacle that no one understands until they face it themselves.

And former Maryland Terrapin Vernon Davis wants the team to know how proud he is of them.

Davis, a current tight end for the Washington Redskins, took to the Players' Tribune to write to the Maryland football team.

He called the touching letter, 'For Jordan'.

In the piece he wrote: 

Ever since the final whistle of that truly incredible Week 1 victory over Texas, I’ve found myself thinking about you guys a lot — about what you all must be going through in dealing with the loss of your teammate Jordan McNair just three months ago, and how difficult everything must be. Eventually, over the past few weeks, I got to the point where I decided that I wanted to sit down and write something to the team.

There are a bunch of things I want to say here. But the most important one, by far, is just to let you all know that….

I couldn’t be more proud of you guys.

Davis continued, talking about their emotional victory over the Texas Longhorns

Losing a teammate, a brother, the way that the Maryland football family lost Jordan this past summer was an unspeakably sad tragedy. I can only imagine the level of grief and heartache that each and every one of you has experienced. And after going through what you have, no one would’ve faulted you if you didn’t win a single game this year — at least not those of us who understand grief, and pain, and loss.

I mean, you could’ve lost 100 to nothing in that opening game at FedEx Field against the Longhorns on September 1 and … we would’ve understood.

But, well, that’s not what happened.

Instead, on that afternoon, even as you continued to hurt and mourn, you found in your sport the opportunity to create a positive, life-affirming moment.

At the same time, you also showed me, once again, just how special this university is to me. And why, after all these years, I still love Maryland with all my heart.

Playing three years with Maryland, Davis caught nine touchdowns with 1,371 yards. Because of his instant impact and averaging 16.5 yards per catch, he decided to forgo his senior season and head to the NFL. In 2006, he was drafted No. 6 overall by the San Francisco 49ers.

He concluded: 

...you’ve all already shown anyone paying attention the strength and heart and will of this team. So I have no doubt that you’re going to bounce back and finish the season strong. And as you’re going about that journey, you all — each and every one of you — need to know that it’s not just me who is proud of you.

You guys are inspiring people worldwide — Terp alums, for sure, but also just people who know what you’re going through and realize the fortitude that it takes to keep moving forward in the face of it all.

We see you. We’re proud of you. And … we believe in you.

So just keep doing the best you can. Stay together. Play the game with love. And always, no matter what, keep Jordan in your heart.

Because I’m pretty sure he’s proud of you, too.

Once a Terp, always a Terp,

Vernon

To read the 'For Jordan' letter in its entirety on the Players' Tribune, click here.

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