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Melo Trimble shows old form with shots sealing win against Iowa

IOWA CITY -- After practice in College Park on Wednesday, Maryland junior guard Jaylen Brantley was asked what "secret sauce" the Terps had used during their fast start to the Big Ten season, a 4-1 record that includes road wins at Michigan and Illinois.

Brantley, who had scored 12 second-half points off the bench in a come-from-behind win in Champaign, Ill., last Saturday, had a rather concise answer.

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"Melo Trimble," said Brantley. "It's as simple as it gets. He's our guy at the end of the game."

It was also a somewhat diplomatic answer since the 6-3 junior guard had not taken over a game down the stretch in awhile. In fact, in Maryland's only Big Ten loss of the season to Nebraska at Xfinity Center on New Year's Day, Trimble had missed two shots to either win or force overtime after the Terps blew a 13-point lead.

On Thursday against Iowa at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Trimble did what he used to do on a regular basis. Having seen his No. 25-ranked team fall behind after a 15-point first-half lead had turned into a three-point deficit, Trimble took over. His consecutive three-pointers gave Maryland (17-2, 5-1) a lead it wouldn't lose in an 84-76 victory.

Trimble punctuated the second three-pointer from the left corner with a subtle turn of the head and not-so-subtle – though certainly not showy – stare at the Iowa student section sitting behind the basket. Trimble had turned the home team's "Gold Out" into a knockout.

"That's anyone, they want to do that when they hit a three, just look into the crowd," said Trimble, who finished with 20 points, including nine of Maryland's last 15 points, to go along with five assists and five rebounds. "I just felt that it was the opportunity for me to do that."

Asked if he thought about what happened here two years ago, when the then-No. 17 Terps fell behind 17-2 in the first half and 40-17 at halftime en route to a 71-55 defeat,  "I didn't really have that in my mind. I just wanted to win the game. They came back on us.

"I was thinking about Nebraska, just thinking about not giving big leads. We did that, but we were able to pull out the win. I was pretty happy and  I was excited."

Trimble finished the game shooting six of 12 from the field, including five of nine on three-pointers. He had been in a shooting slump, and seemed to be forcing it at times.

In the previous four games, Trimble had shot 20 of 62 overall and six of 22 on three-pointers, including five of 16 overall and two of 11 on three-pointers in the win at Illinois.

"It's great to see Melo make shots like that for us in the clutch," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Thursday after the game. "That's what he's done most of his career. He hasn't done it lately, the last couple of games. For him to step up and do that was terrific."

While Trimble had hit some clutch free throws and tough drives to help seal victories this season, the back-to-back threes were reminiscent of some games he played his first two seasons, including last season at Wisconsin, where his three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left beat the Badgers.

That shot was the first game-winner for Trimble on the high school or college level.

Turgeon said he didn't tell Trimble to take the two shots against Iowa.

"I didn't want to put that kind of pressure on him, he's got enough on him," Turgeon said. "I think every guy on our team is going to make a shot. … I think every one of them is going in when they shoot it. Some of the shots I don't like. It was good. It was good to see Melo [make them]."

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Brantley, who scored 10 points off the bench against Iowa, was reminded of what he had said about Trimble in College Park on Wednesday. He was then asked whether the two shots against the Hawkeyes were going to be added to the list of Trimble's career highlights.

"There's so many from him," said Brantley, who came in last season after playing a year in junior college. "I don't think anything is going to top the Wisconsin game last year. This was a great game for him. He played really poised and I just feel we're going to keep building off of every game."

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