University of Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon talks about the play of guard Melo Trimble against Northwestern University. (Baltimore Sun video)
EVANSTON, ILL. — Melo Trimble's hairstyles have changed repeatedly during his three seasons at Maryland – from closed-cropped early in his freshman year to the orange-tinged, Odell Beckham Jr. look through his sophomore year to a scruffy beard this season.
Trimble went back to basics, tonsorially speaking, earlier this week when he got the facial hair trimmed to a neat goatee and a little hair chopped off the back of his head at his favorite College Park barber shop on Monday. Funny how he also shot his way out of a recent slump Wednesday here at Northwestern.
"I like to play with a lot of swagger, and I just felt that a new look would be right for me," Trimble said after his career-high 32-point performance led the No. 23 Terps to a 74-64 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Mired in a 16-for-52 shooting slump over the past four games, Trimble looked like the player who often took over games his first two seasons, but had done it less regularly this season. He made 12 of 17 field-goal attempts shots, including four of five 3-pointers.
Asked if he felt a bit lighter against the Wildcats than he had in awhile, Trimble said with a smile: "It felt different; the back of my head had some wind to it. Other than that, I felt the same."
He looked different, as did his shot. Defended by bigger players -- 6-foot-7 Vic Law Jr. and 6-6 Sanjay Lumpkin -- Trimble got into the lane when he wanted, scored in traffic and hit mostly net on his 3-pointers.
Trimble said he didn't change his approach.
"Just playing basketball," he said. "I've been playing all year, unfortunately couldn't make any shots. Tonight was my night, and I just kept playing and took what the defense gave me."
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said during a brief halftime interview on the Big Ten Network that his star player might have been motivated from reading negative comments about his shooting slump, and said afterward that Trimble needs to play "borderline cocky" to be successful.
"Once I saw that first shot go in, I knew it was going to be my game, I just played within the system, I didn't force anything," Trimble said.
His teammates weren't surprised to see Trimble have one of the best games of his career.
Freshman guard Anthony Cowan, who came out of his own shooting slump in Saturday's win at Ohio State, finished Wednesday with 13 points, six assists and six rebounds. This time he was a complement to Trimble.
"I thought Melo played really well," Cowan said. "We definitely needed this the last couple of games of the season. I'm happy he did it this game."
Cowan said he didn't really notice a difference in Trimble than in recent games when he shot poorly.
"I think he plays with a lot of confidence any time," Cowan said. "He made a couple of shots early, so we called some plays for him and I just kept trying to find him."
Asked what it was like to see the "old Melo" against Northwestern, senior center Damonte Dodd said: "I never thought the old Melo left. I just think that sometimes you just can't make shots.
"The thing is, people know Melo for his scoring, but they don't see all the other things he does like passing, rebounding, playing great defense. I never thought the old Melo left, I think he's still there."
Dodd joked how the new haircut might have helped Trimble.
"He has a nice haircut, the haircut might boost him up a little bit," said Dodd, who finished with 12 points and six rebounds. "Maybe he saw some girls in the crowd or something."
Dodd said that he could tell Trimble had an extra spark against the Wildcats.
"This is good, just seeing him doing what he loves to do," Dodd said. "I tell him all the time, 'You're not going to be able to score 30 a night, might not get 20, might not get 10 sometimes. As long as you do the little things, and we keep winning, that takes care of a lot."
While Trimble's best performance of the season will probably not make Turgeon encourage the rest of the team to get haircuts going into Sunday's game at Wisconsin, Dodd said he feels a little pressure now that Trimble has shaved his beard.
Dodd said he might have to consider shaving – or at least trimming – his.
"I might go to the barber shop and get a shave," he said. "But it won't be nothing crazy."