COLLEGE PARK — Last-second victories have been rare in Mark Turgeon's four seasons at Maryland.
None of them have gone as Turgeon drew up in the huddle.
There was Alex Len's tip-in to beat North Carolina State two years ago. That came on a poorly conceived baseline jumper by Pe'Shon Howard that fortunately never touched the rim and was so off-line that the 7-foot Len had perfect position in front of the rim.
There was the 3-pointer by Dez Wells to beat Miami last season after the Terps had blown a 10-point lead in the final two minutes. It seemed an unlikely shot given how poorly Wells had shot from long-range during his first three seasons in college.
Now, there is Sunday's night tip-in by Wells with a little more than a second remaining, which completed Maryland's improbable comeback from an 11-point deficit with 3:24 left against Northwestern and ultimately gave the Terps a 68-67 victory.
That, too, wasn't drawn up as it was designed.
Turgeon said after one of his most exciting wins in College Park that he didn't really like Trimble settling for a 3-pointer.
As good as the shot looked when it left Trimble's hand, Turgeon thought that Trimble or Wells would have had more success driving and, considering the way Trimble shoots free throws, winning the game at the free-throw line, as Seth Allen did as a freshman against Duke.
"My thought was that I went to the basket twice [prior on drives] and I was hoping that they would play back," Trimble said. "[Northwestern point guard Bryant McIntosh] was kind of forcing me to shoot the jump shot. I was feeling it, and that's what I did. I was thinking three anyway, so that's what I did."
Trimble said he was confident that if he missed, Wells or Jake Layman would be there for the rebound. Wells was pretty much unchecked, but the angle of the carom forced him to make a difficult tap-in while falling back, which banked in for the game-winner.
Wells joked that he thanked Trimble because his "half-shot, half-pass" was perfectly placed.
"I just went to the basket. I wasn't going to let nobody stop me from getting the ball," Wells said.
Afterward, Wells said he was thinking more about one of Northwestern's shots than his own.
"The guy who hit the shot on me, that's what's under my skin right now," Wells said, referring to a step-back jumper by Tre Demps that gave Northwestern a one-point lead with a little over nine seconds to play. "I got to go back to the film and watch that play. He made a good move, it was a good shot. Melo missed it perfectly for me and I just did what I could to make the shot."
Until Maryland's comeback in the last three minutes, it had the makings of another tough night for Wells. He wound up hitting his last four shots – including one of his signature dunks – and made a terrific feed to Layman to a huge 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 65-62 with 1:05 to play.
His last shot turned out to be the game winner as Northwestern couldn't convert on a long heave in the final second.
It was a different ending than last year when Wells made the 3-pointer.
"It was Dez being Dez," Turgeon said. "I think that's more what Dez is about than shooting threes off the dribble. That was a big-time tip. I don't where he came from. But he came from somewhere. He wanted the ball, and Melo took it, and he's like, 'Now I'm going to get a tip-in.' I'm really happy for Dez."