For long stretches in both halves of Saturday's game against Maryland-Eastern Shore at Xfinity Center, the No. 6 Maryland men's basketball team looked bored and distracted. For shorter bursts, the Terps looked like they were focused and having fun.

Fortunately for Maryland, it was facing a UMES team that had won only one of its first nine games, had played just twice at home this season and was in the midst of a seven-game road trip, having coming off a 43-point loss at top-ranked Michigan State on Wednesday.


It was also fortunate that the Terps might have one of the best backcourts in the country.

If sophomore point guard Melo Trimble was the finisher, then senior shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon was the facilitator. Switching traditional roles as they have done off and on this season, Trimble scored a team-high 18 points and Sulaimon registered a career-high 10 assists in a 77-56 victory.

After watching what had been a 14-point lead in the first half become six at halftime, Trimble did what he has done so often in his short career at Maryland: He took over. Again leading by double digits following a corner 3-pointer early in the second half, Trimble scored eight points in a little over a minute, including back-to-back 3-pointers in a span of 17 seconds.

"I think we were looking for someone to give us a little spurt to start the second half, and that's what I did," said Trimble, who hit his first five shots including all four of his 3-pointers before finishing 5-for-6 from the field. "We also pressed the second half and we got ourselves going."

Said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, "Eighteen points on six shots, pretty amazing. I don't ever tell Melo what to do unless it's a bad shot. What I mean is that he just goes with the flow of the game and if it's there for him, he will take it. I was glad to see him make some shots. He has a feel that you can't teach."

Trimble and Sulaimon were among the few Terps who seemed totally focused against UMES (1-9). After dominating Connecticut on the boards in Tuesday's 77-66 victory at Madison Square Garden, Maryland was outrebounded 28-26 by the Hawks.

Senior forward Dominique Elliott, a preseason all-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection, led UMES with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Turgeon conceded that his team, after good practices Thursday and Friday, came out pretty flat -- especially on the defensive end -- against a team that came in as 32-point underdogs. The Hawks shot a respectable 23-for-50 for the game, including 8-for-12 by Elliott.

Sophomore wing Jared Nickens, who along with freshman center Diamond Stone each added 12 points off the bench, said "we've got to do a better job staying engaged on the defensive and we've got to maintain our energy from the tip to the end of the game."

Nickens was asked if Maryland's lackluster effort was a byproduct of going from playing a high-intensity game in a raucous arena in New York to playing against a team it expects to beat easily in a building that despite an announced sellout had plenty of empty seats. The Terps were 32-point favorites.

"We can't let the numbers and the crowd affect our energy," Nickens said. "That's what we did. We came out lackadaisical and allowed the game to be closer than we wanted to be."

Said Turgeon, "It's an excuse. You don't get too many opportunities to play. I thought we were physically ready. I don't know if we were mentally right there. It showed in some of our breakdowns. I thought Maryland-Eastern Shore was pretty good. They haven't been making shots. They made some shots. I thought they played hard. It is hard. But to win comfortably is a good feeling."

Turgeon wasn't worried about the outcome, but said he was "disappointed with the way we finished the half. … We just talked about playing a little harder. We changed our defense and it kind of got us going. We made some shots (12 of 19, including six of nine 3-pointers). They knew I was disappointed, they were disappointed themselves."

Maryland will now have a week off before playing Princeton at Royal Farms Arena next Saturday. Most of it will be spent off the court, taking finals and resting up after a rigorous stretch that included three high-profile games in the first month as well as a trip to Mexico.


Asked what he hoped to accomplish over the next few weeks -- the Terps won't play again after Saturday until Dec. 27 against Marshall -- Turgeon was pretty succinct.

"Just getting better," he said.

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