Dez Wells and Melo Trimble combined to shoot 7-for-27 from the floor, but they combined to hit some critical free throws — and, in Dez Wells’ case, the most important three of the game — as No. 12 Maryland beat Michigan State in the Breslin Center in double-overtime, 68-66.
In a weird finish to regulation, Michigan State cost themselves a chance to ice the game by calling a timeout with 12 seconds left, erasing a would-be breakaway layup for Bryn Forbes that would have put them up by four. After Matt Costello went 1-for-2 from the free throw line, Wells — who finished with 16 points, seven boards and five steals — hit a leaning three over a pair of defenders with just 2.2 seconds left in regulation.
The Spartans again took the lead in the first overtime, but Wells made a pair of free throws in the final minute that tied the game. Forbes missed a three at the buzzer that would have won the game.
In the second overtime, Melo Trimble was able to consistently get to the free throw line, helping the Terps slowly build a five-point lead that the Spartans were unable to overcome.
The Big Ten is the toughest conference in America to figure out, but the Terps look like they are the second-best team in the league. Not only are they now ranked 12th in the country, but they own wins over Iowa State and at Oklahoma State and Michigan State. They are now 13-1 on the season, the only loss coming to No. 3 Virginia in a game that Wells did not play in.
The difference for Maryland has been addition by subtraction. Maryland lost five players to transfer this offseason, but not all of that was by mistake. Chemistry is an incredibly important part of a basketball team, and the Terps have it this season.
They also have Trimble, who is the first true point guard that Turgeon has had in his tenure at Maryland. Trimble is more of a scorer than a Fred Van Vleet or Tyler Ennis, but he still is a guy that can get Maryland into an offense and create a shot — or a pair of free throws — at the end of a clock.
All told, the Terps look like a team that will win quite a few games to start their time in the Big Ten.