Maryland’s star shined the brightest in the biggest game of the season, propelling the 23rd ranked Terrapins to a 74-64 signature win over the Northwestern Wildcats at Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Melo Trimble had a career-high 32 points on 12 of 17 shooting from the floor and was unstoppable whether he was slashing to the basket or sinking four of five three pointers.
He was so good he scored 32 points in 32 minutes of play helping the Terps improve to (22-4, 10-3 Big Ten) good enough for a tie for first in conference play with 16th ranked Purdue and 11th ranked Wisconsin, the Terrapins next opponent.
The Terps are a conference-best 7-1 on the road this season and 10-1 in games away from Xfinity Center.
Meanwhile, Northwestern, off to one of their best seasons ever and their own signature win over then top-ten Wisconsin was poised to take down the Terps before a pumped up and packed arena.
But Melo had other ideas and his eye-of-the-tiger mentality was on display all game. He scored 13 points in the first half and 19 in the second. The Wildcats were playing without their leading scorer, and their next best offensive threat Bryant McIntosh had early foul trouble and was never a factor, scoring nine points.
Combine that with a Trimble with a chip on his shoulder and the Wildcats, who led for all of 20 seconds at 2-0 never had a chance.
Maryland’s other starting guard, Anthony Cowan, finished with 13 points, six assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Terrapin big man Damonte Dodd chipped in with 12 points and six rebounds and freshman Justin Jackson had eight points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists.
Maryland totally dominated the game and led for all but 20 seconds. They extended their lead to 20 points at 62-42 with 7:28 to go in the game but the Wildcats clawed back to within nine at 66-57 with 3:16 to go in the contest.
Dodd then came to the rescue and made a layup giving Maryland a 68-57 advantage with 1:57 to go and the Terps made just enough free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
Maryland’s defense was dominating in the first half, holding the Wildcats to 39 percent, their worst shooting half of the season as the Terps took a 32-22 lead at the break.
In the first half Maryland was behind 2-0 with 19:29 to play and when Jackson banked in a three the score was 3-2 and they never trailed again.
In the second half, Maryland had a double-digit lead until the 3:16 mark and the Wildcats would get as close as 72-64 with 1:15 to go but Maryland would not let the home crowd go home happy.
Maryland shot 50 percent from the floor and made four of nine three pointers in each half. They also sank 12 of 17 free throws and out rebounded Northwestern 40-31.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats shot 39 percent for the game and were a dismal five of 22 from beyond the arc. They made 13 of 23 shots from the charity stripe.
Northwestern was led in scoring by Isiah Brown who had 19 points. Vic Law added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds in a losing effort for the (19-7, 8-5) second place Wildcats.