Maybe the Maryland Terps just played poorly on Tuesday night at Michigan, but that doesn't mean there isn't some room for rationalization after their 70-67 loss to a team that was without its most dynamic player.
The most obvious reason that the Terps never got on track was that Melo Trimble was in early foul trouble and never got into sync. For one of the first times this season, he looked like he forgot what to do in the paint.
This is the guy who makes teams crazy when he drives the lane, gets fouled and hits a dozen free throws at crunch time. That was not the guy out there on Tuesday night and the Terps only looked like the dominant No. 3 team in the nation for a nine-minute stretch in the second half. That burst brought them back from a 13-point deficit only to cede that momentum down the stretch.
Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon combined for 10 points and five assists, which is not a prescription for success, and the Terps could not get into an offensive rhythm without their usual guard play.
Even 22 points in 28 minutes by freshman phenom Diamond Stone and a very strong performance by Jake Layman could not save them from their second loss of the season and a couple of steps backward in the national rankings.
But let's be real. Mark Turgeon is a great coach and he has great talent, but the Terps weren't going to win out. They pulled out a road win at Wisconsin on a last-second shot a few days earlier and had to rally from way behind against Penn State in their Big Ten opener. There are lessons to be learned from all that, which could make Maryland a more formidable team at tourament time.
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