COLLEGE PARK — Even Melo Trimble got a little caught up in the postgame buzz of his long, last-second 3-pointer to beat Wisconsin on Saturday at Kohl Center in Madison.
The low-key Maryland sophomore, who at times seems amazed and slightly embarrassed by his celebrity as one of college basketball's best players, heard he had trended on Twitter and knew all about New York Giants receiver Victor Cruz tweeting: "Melo Trimble is the best PG in the country. Period."
Trimble also watched more than a few replays of his shot, the first end-of-game winner he said he had hit in college or high school. He didn’t realize how long it was — anywhere from 25 to 28 feet away — when he launched it.
"It was a clutch shot, a very deep shot," he said before practice Monday. "I didn't intend on it being that far. I was surprised. I couldn't believe I took that shot from so deep. I'm surprised I didn't air-ball it, seeing how far I shot it from. I'm just happy it went in."
College basketball analyst Dan Dakich seemed to be surprised that Trimble waited so long to shoot; it went in with 1.2 seconds left. On the ESPN telecast, Dakich said, "Too late," with about four seconds to go. To his credit, Dakich tweeted, " 'Too late' My [butt]," after the game.
"If I was Melo Trimble, that's what I would say to me," Dakich said with a laugh Monday.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, whose No. 3 Terps play at Michigan on Tuesday, didn't realize it was Trimble's first true game-winner until his star mentioned it to the media after the game.
“I watched him play a lot of high school games and I saw him put a lot of nails in the coffin,” Turgeon said. “But that was pretty cool. We’re all disappointed that it was tied — give Wisconsin credit, they made three big 3s — but Melo did what he does. He was feeling good about himself. He had a great last nine minutes. I didn’t love the shot, I wish he would have got a little bit closer, but thank God it went in.”
Turgeon said after the game that he thought Trimble should have driven to the basket, something he had done throughout the game en route to a 21-point, five-assist performance, including scoring 13 of Maryland's last 17 points in the team's eighth straight victory.
In retrospect, Turgeon said Monday, driving "would have been hard. They were kind of zoning up against him, and he saw that."
"Maybe a couple of feet closer would have been nice," he said. "It was great. It just adds to Melo's legend."
Said Trimble: "I know [Wisconsin guard Zak Showalter] was a bit surprised that I pulled up from that far, so that's why I shot it. I didn't know where I shot it from. It was the best look I could get at that time."
Senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon knows exactly what Trimble was going through. As a sophomore at Duke, Sulaimon hit a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left to beat Virginia. Less than two weeks later, he sent an epic game against Syracuse into overtime with a 3-pointer from a distance similar to Trimble's shot.
"In those situations, all I'm thinking about is trying to help my team win," said Sulaimon, who has been Maryland's best 3-point shooter this season. "The crowd kind of disappears, the pressure kind of disappears. If the ball's in my hands, you just want to help your team win. And that's what Melo did. He sized them up, knew he could make that shot. I could tell he didn't even know where he was on the court."
The shot made the raucous crowd go deathly silent and set off a celebration on the court, as Maryland players rushed to surround Trimble after a desperation heave by Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes fell short.
"When I made the shot, I was very excited. I didn't know what to do," Trimble said Monday.
As excited as he was about Cruz's tweet, Trimble would have liked it even more had it come from Odell Beckham Jr., whose orange-tinted hair Trimble copied as a freshman. It doesn't even matter that Trimble is a die-hard Dallas Cowboys fan.
"That's nice. He's on the same team as the other guys that I like, like Odell," Trimble joked. "So I'm waiting for him to recognize me."
In terms of game-winners, Trimble apparently has a lot of catching up to do with another Maryland teammate.
Asked whether he ever has hit a last-second game-winner, junior forward Robert Carter Jr. closed his eyes and laughed.
"Many times," he said
And what would have happened had Trimble missed?
"Everybody expected him to hit that shot, and if he didn't hit it, somebody is expected to get [the rebound] and clean it up," Carter said.