Damonte Dodd and Jaylen Brantley crucial in Terps' comeback win

COLLEGE PARK — Many will remember Maryland beating Oklahoma State, 71-70, Saturday night at Xfinity Center by erasing a 12-point deficit in the last 12 minutes, and that junior guard Melo Trimble hit two crucial free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining.

Senior center Damonte Dodd and junior guard Jaylen Brantley will hardly be mentioned when discussing the fifth second-half comeback of the season for the now 8-1 Terps.


Without this pair of unlikely heroes, though, Maryland likely would have lost its second straight game, perhaps by another big margin, as they did against Pittsburgh on Tuesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Against Oklahoma State, Dodd and Brantley each scored 12 points — one fewer than Trimble — with Dodd also contributing eight rebounds and three blocked shots.


In fact, Trimble was on the bench, with Dodd and Brantley on the court along with three freshmen – point guard Anthony Cowan (11 points, five rebounds), wing Kevin Huerter and forward Justin Jackson – when the Terps started a 13-0 run that erased a 60-48 deficit.

During the run, Dodd scored on a dunk to cut the deficit to 60-52; Brantley then scored on a strong drive after Oklahoma State star Jawun Evans was forced into a turnover. Dodd later scored on a three-point play to bring the Terps to within two, 60-58, on a pass from Trimble

The assist was one of the few tangible contributions Trimble made during a run that continued with Huerter making a pair of free throws after grabbing a defensive rebound and Jackson making one of two after also getting a rebound off a missed Oklahoma State shot.

The freshmen had been contributing all season. Brantley and Dodd have been more up-and-down.

"I'm really proud of Jaylen Brantley, he was terrific, and Damonte Dodd's defense in the second half was great," coach Mark Turgeon said. "Jaylen played tonight like he practices every day. He practices hard, he believes, he never stops talking. He's a winner; he made winning plays."

On a night when Trimble again struggled with his shooting — he finished 4-of-12 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point range — Brantley was "my option," Turgeon said.

"And he's not afraid. His AAU team won a national championship and they never took him out of the game, so he's a winner. …We had no chance without him tonight."

Dodd was also the only factor down the stretch at center for the Terps, who were without redshirt sophomore Ivan Bender because of bone bruise in his left leg. Junior Michal Cekovsky cotributed little after picking up two fouls in a 34-second span shortly after replacing Dodd in the first half.


Oklahoma State coach Brad Underwood said after the game that he was not surprised by what Dodd did against the Cowboys.

"I told our [assistant] coaches, 'He's one of my favorite players on their team', because he impacts the game," Underwood said. "However number of minutes he's been playing, he impacts the game, whether it's through a defensive rebound or his sheer size at the rim. His impact is felt."

Underwood smiled as he began to think about what Brantley had done.

"Brantley? That one was probably a little curveball that I swung and missed on," Underwood said. "Give him credit. …You get consumed with some the other guys and he did what a good player should do: step up and given the opportunity. Took the most of it."

Trimble said Brantley's performance should be a "confidence booster" for a player who has struggled since coming to Maryland last season after spending a year in junior college.

"That's for anybody to have a game like that in this situation," Trimble said. "He played a lot today [22 minutes]. He got to the basket, hit shots, his defense was outstanding, as well. He made — I think — a game-winning play, when he dove on the ball to get a jump ball in our possession…He's going to continue to get better, just like any other player."


Said Brantley, who has found a role in the rotation playing behind Trimble and Cowan, "It gives me a lot of confidence — confidence from Coach Turgeon and my teammates and mostly for me. Tonight was a really big stepping-stone for me."

Given that this was only the third time in his career that Dodd scored in double figures and second this season, it's unlikely the Terps are expecting the 6-foot-11 center to suddenly become a go-to player offensively.

But Dodd played a critical role in helping control the boards after Maryland was outrebounded 27-18 in the first half. He also kept Evans, the country's third-leading scorer, from penetrating by coming out on ball screens and blocking three shots. That's exactly what the Terps need in the Big Ten.

"Coach said to go to the rim and try to offensive rebound," said Dodd, who finished with five of Maryland's 15 offensive rebounds. "I just had to be smart because I was in foul trouble; I didn't want to get any more ticky-tack fouls. He said, 'Just go rebound hard and we can take over the backboards.'"