A year ago in the second round of the NCAA tournament, then-freshman Melo Trimble kept Maryland competitive with West Virginia until he was knocked out of the game twice in Columbus, Ohio.
The first time came right after Trimble hit a long 3-point shot to pull the Terps to within three points early in the second half. Trimble was hit in the head on a hard screen and had to be helped off the floor at Nationwide Arena.
After sitting out a few minutes, Trimble was sidelined for good when he tripped going back on defense and was inadvertently kicked in the head by teammate Damonte Dodd. Helped off the court again, he sat with an ice pack on his head, his eyes reddened by tears.
Trimble, who had led the Terps with 15 points, was later diagnosed with a concussion.
On Sunday night, there was no ice pack and no tears.
After a slow start against 13th seed Hawaii in the second round of this year's NCAA tournament at the Spokane Arena, there was only an icy calm from the confident sophomore star. Trimble's 24 points and eight rebounds led the Terps to a 73-60 win over the Rainbow Warriors.
Maryland (27-8) will play Kansas (30-4) at approximately 9:40 Thursday night in Louisville. While Terps coach Mark Turgeon never beat his alma mater in the seven games he played against the Jayhawks while coaching at Texas A&M, he never had a point guard like Trimble leading the way.
Turgeon credited Trimble's decision two years ago to play for Maryland as a key part of the program ending a 13-year drought in reaching the Sweet 16. It also marks the second Sweet 16 appearance for Turgeon, who took Wichita State that far in 2006.
Now in his fifth year in College Park, Turgeon also credited Trimble's decision to stay at Maryland after a great freshman year as a key part of attracting high school star Diamond Stone, who chose the Terps over home-state Wisconsin and the 2014 national champions Connecticut.
"I think Melo, because he's a great player, he's able to do that," Turgeon said. "Diamond wanted to be a part of this team and he wants to be a part of the next weekend's game, and he knew he had a better of chance of that with Melo on the team."
Sitting in the corner of the team's noisy locker room, Trimble understood how different the moment felt than a year ago. He barely recalled the second half of last year's game after getting hit in the head the first time.
While he took a couple of hard fouls from the Rainbow Warriors – one in particular seemed to upset Trimble – there was a clear head and a wide smile in helping lead the Terps over what had been a major obstacle. Maryland had been unsuccessful in its last six second-round games.
"We won, that's the difference," Trimble said. "We didn't overlook this team. It's a strong team and we won."
Asked how the Terps overcame a horrendous start in the first half and a shaky one in the second half, Trimble said, "It's confidence. We just wanted to get in the groove of the game so fast. We were so anxious out there, we just had to relax and play basketball and we just go through it and pulled out the win."
After missing his first five 3-pointers while the team combined to miss the first 15, Trimble finally hit a 3-pointer from the left side during Maryland's 19-2 run that turned a 3-point deficit into a 14-point lead.
"It was stress relief," he said of the 3-pointer, the only one the Terps made in 18 attempts. "I was kind of stressing. Every shot was kind of on line. Like I said, I'm a confident player. My teammates want me to keep shooting; it's good shots. Coach Turgeon believes in me 110 percent. When your coach believes in you like that, you've got to have confidence."
Asked if the 3-pointer he made was the best moment he has had as a Terp, Trimble hesitated and then rejected the notion.
"That wouldn't be the best moment," he said. "I think the best moment is that we just won and got to the Sweet 16. A lot of players can't say they got to this point, and a lot of teams got bounced today. We're still here and we're still playing. That was the best moment that happened about 10 minutes ago."