With their injured star point guard on the bench, the 4th-seeded Maryland Terrapins Cinderella-season came crashing to a halt, losing to the 5th-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers 69-59 in the third round of the NCAA tournament at Nationwide Arena.
Freshman-sensation Melo Trimble, who earlier in the game was a victim of a bone-crushing pick that put him on the floor in pain, found himself again face down on the floor, this time having his head collide with a teammates knee while he was attempting to intercept a West Virginia pass.
As he sat on the bench trying to clear his head, he was unable to pass a series of tests and was ruled out of the game.
Without their lone point guard, the rattled Terrapins struggled to advance the ball up the court and were a shell of themselves against the Mountaineers constant full court press. They finished the game with a staggering 23 turnovers. Trimble, a first team Big Ten selection still managed to lead the team in scoring with 15 points even though he missed close to the final nine minutes of the second half.
Despite the setback of losing their floor general and the barrage of turnovers the Terps were still in the game only down 61-55 after a Jake Layman dunk with 2:35 to go. The Terps, who led the nation in games won by six points or less, were unable to rally this time for a spot in the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003.
Meanwhile, the Terrapins other leader Dez Wells, had a tough night against the press, committing eight turnovers while scoring only nine points. Layman added 10 points for the Terps who saw their season end with a record of (28-7) which was something to celebrate and an 11-game improvement from the previous season.
In the first half the Mountaineers jumped out to a 16-10 lead with 14:21 to go but the Terps fought back and went on a 9-0 run to take a 19-16 lead. From there, the teams traded baskets the rest of the half and the Mountaineers went into the break ahead 35-34. In the first half Trimble was Trimble as he led his team with 12 points.
The second half was also a close contest until Trimble was injured a second time and was knocked out of the game. When he left the Terp’s were only down 53-46 and they clawed their way back to 56-51 on an Evan Smotrycz three-pointer with 4:52 to play. But that was as close as they would get.
The rebounding contest was even at 32, but the difference was in the offensive rebounds where West Virginia held a 14-8 advantage which led to a 16-7 difference in their favor on second-chance points. The Mountaineers also outscored the Terps 26-10 off turnovers, while the Terrapins bench outscored the Mountaineers 20-9.
The Terrapins held West Virginia to 40 percent shooting from the floor while the Terrapins hit 48 percent of their shots and overcame their turnovers by making 8 of 19 three-pointers.
Trimble, had seven rebounds in limited action and Smotrycz and freshman Jared Nickens both finished with six points. Dodd, contributed five rebounds, four blocks and three points.
The Mountaneers, who will play #1 seed Kentucky in the Sweet 16 had four players in double figures. Devin Williams finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Gary Browne had 14 points. Jonathan Holton and Daxter Miles Jr.each scored 12 points in a winning effort for the (25-9) Mountaineers.
Maryland Minute: Even though the Terps lost the season was a Big win in many ways. They set a regular season record with 26 wins. They had two players, Trimble and Wells make first team all Big Ten in their first year in the league. They also finished second in their first year in a new league, a great achievement considering they were picked to finish 10th. Layman made third team Big Ten and they improved by 11 wins. Coach Mark Turegon was Coach of the Year in the Big Ten and led the team to their first NCAA tournament bid since 2010 as a #4 seed. The Terps also finished the year ranked in the top 20. The future looks bright with both Trimble and Layman expected to be back and a freshman class that will only get better. GO TERPS!