Melo Trimble escaped from a five-game shooting slump in a big way on Wednesday night, scoring a career-best 32 points, off 12-of-17 shooting (4-of-5 from three) in No. 23 Maryland’s big, 74-64, road victory over Northwestern.
Entering Wednesday night, Trimble was shooting just 24 percent from the field, and 14 percent from three, in the month of February. Not surprisingly, the Terrapins went 1-2 during that slump, dropping a heartbreaker at home to a ranked Purdue team before suffering a bad road loss to Penn State.
Trimble had it going from the start, scoring 13 points in the first half, which included going 2-for-2 from beyond the arc (he had had two 3-pointers over the course of the past three games, and was three for his last 22 attempts from deep). Even though we all knew Trimble was going to get out that extended shooting slump, and Northwestern was without leading scorer Scottie Lindsey, this was an important win for the Terrapins for several reasons.
While Trimble contributed for more than half of his team’s offense (he recorded three assists in addition to his career best), the supporting cast was solid around the All-American caliber point guard, even if their individual points don’t reflect it. The defense was effective against Northwestern’s ball-screens and flummoxed Bryant McIntosh, who dealt with foul trouble, before ending his night with nine points off 13 shots. Northwestern shot 39 percent as a team.
Secondly, the Terrapins will go back to College Park with at least one win after facing a daunting back-to-back road trip. Up next for Maryland is a meeting in Madison with No. 7 Wisconsin on Sunday. If the Terps can pull off another road win against the Badgers, it’d be far from shocking if they’d win out heading into the Big Ten Tournament. Maryland closes out the season with three of its last four at home, with the lone road game being against last-place Rutgers.
This team is still a mystery. After all, eight days ago Maryland lost to Penn State, but on nights like Wednesday, Trimble showed why the Terps could make some noise come next month.