After averaging a shade under 20 points over a six-game stretch and making 35 of 62 shots from the field, including 10 of 18 3-point attempts, Maryland freshman point guard Melo Trimble might have showed more than just his age during Tuesday’s 60-50 win at Rutgers.
Trimble hit his first shot of the game and scored all 10 of his points in the first 23 minutes, then missed his last five shots. He finished the game shooting 3-for-13 from the field, including 0-for-5 on 3-point attempts in what was his worst game in more than a month.
“He’s human, I wasn’t sure he was human,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said after the 10th-ranked Terps practiced Friday in College Park for Sunday’s game at Nebraska. “I hugged him after the game and said, ‘I guess you’re human Melo.’ He just smiled. He’ll bounce back.”
Trimble, who scored 26 points (including the last 10) and had two huge 3-pointers down the stretch to help beat the Cornhuskers, 69-65, when the teams met at Xfinity Center on Feb. 19, has typically done just that during what has been a sensational debut season.
Early in the season, Trimble followed up three sub-par shooting games to start his career with a season-high 31-point performance on just 11 shots against Arizona State. He followed another lackluster 10-point game at Indiana (an 89-70 loss) by scoring 27 points at home three days later against Northwestern.
Right after scoring seven points in two games and missing 13 straight shots against Penn State and Ohio State, Trimble started the six-game stretch during which he solidified his chances of being named first-team All-Big Ten and staying on the Bob Cousy Award watch list for the nation’s top point guard.
Turgeon made it clear Friday that the leg and back pain Trimble was said to be suffering from has not resurfaced.
Turgeon also took it as a positive that his team could survive without its leading scorer playing well, though the fact that senior guard Dez Wells took over the game in its latter stages -- scoring 10 of his game-high 20 points in the last 5:39 -- helped overcome a number of underwhelming performances.
As a team, Maryland shot 22-for-57 overall (5-for-22 on 3-point attempts), including 0-for-4 (0-for-3) by freshman wing Jared Nickens, the team’s best long-range shooter going into the game.
“Not to pick on Melo, but we had a lot of guys not play well in the game on Tuesday night,” Turgeon said. “Dez took over the game, we had a couple of guys do well. It says a lot about our team. We have a lot of guys not play well and you’re able to win on the road on Senior Day.”
Trimble’s performance against the Scarlet Knights was taken in stride by his teammates.
Senior guard Richaud Pack said that he is “sometimes” surprised to see Trimble struggle, yet he wouldn’t classify what Trimble did against Rutgers that way.
“A lot of times it looks like he’s struggling, but he’s not, if that makes sense,” Pack said. “He’s missing shots that he normally makes and I don’t consider that struggling. If he was just playing out of character and fumbling the ball going up the court, but if he gets into the lane and just misses his shot, that’s not really struggling to me.”