While neutral site games have become more popular in college basketball in recent years, there’s nothing better than a highly competitive game in a raucous environment. Tuesday’s matchup between Georgetown and No. 3 Maryland, the Hoyas’ first trip to College Park in four decades and the teams’ first regular season meeting since 1993, more than lived up to the hype. But the game, at least from the perspective of the visitors, will be about the opportunities to put the game that they failed to take advantage of.
As a result Melo Trimble and company made the plays they needed to make, winning by the final score of 75-71.
At two different moments in the second half Georgetown held a seven-point lead, the latest of which coming after an Isaac Copeland basket with 5:48 remaining pushed their lead out to 61-54. But on their next two possessions the Hoyas turned the ball over and Maryland capitalized, going on a 7-0 run with Trimble responsible for five of those points.
From there the game went back and forth until Rasheed Sulaimon, who arrived at Maryland amidst lofty expectations and a desire for redemption, made the decisive shot.
Sulaimon’s three-pointer with 1:18 gave Maryland the lead for good, and his role is one that will be incredibly important for a team with national title aspirations. Sulaimon was both a scorer (supplementary role) and a distributor Tuesday night, finishing with ten points and a team-high seven assists, and how he navigates these responsibilities will be key for Maryland moving forward. If Sulaimon can successfully do so, with the passing aspect freeing up Trimble to do more scoring himself, that would make Maryland an even stronger national title contender.
Add in forward Robert Carter, who finished with 12 points and eight rebounds, and Maryland’s two transfers stepped forward in a big game as many envisioned them doing before the season began.
Maryland didn’t have its best shooting night, making just eight of twenty-one from three, and giving up 17 second-chance points is another area that will need to be addressed. But led by Trimble, who was one of the nation’s best at getting to the foul line as a freshman, Maryland outscored Georgetown by 14 points (23-9) from the foul line. That point differential kept Maryland afloat, and ultimately they found a way to take advantage.
Georgetown can certainly point to missed opportunities, and they’ll take some valuable lessons from Tuesday’s game moving forward. But so will Mark Turgeon’s team, which deserves credit for hanging around to be in position to take advantage.