Maryland was able to withstand a very late push from UConn Tuesday night to secure a 76-66 win at the 21st annual Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. The young talents of sophomore guard Melo Trimble and freshman center Diamond Stone were on display under the bright lights of the “World’s Most Famous Arena” and ESPN. But UConn didn’t make it easy for the Terps until a critical mistake by Huskies coach Kevin Ollie late in the game gave Maryland a chance to put it away.
The Terps jumped out to a commanding 20 point lead as the freshman Stone threw his coming out party to the rest of the NCAA, scoring 12 points in the first 8 minutes and change. Stone slammed several ferocious dunks and even knocked down mid-range jumper. Maryland controlled the entire first half, leading 38-22 at the break.
But the second half was a different story with Maryland’s lead evaporating quickly as UConn took the Terps’ 14 point lead with just over seven minutes left and diminished it to just 3 after a Daniel Hamilton 3 ball cut it to 67-64 with 2:54 left. On the ensuing inbound Melo Trimble was fouled by UConn freshman guard Jalen Adams.
This sent Kevin Ollie into a frenzy. It was unclear immediately if he thought the call on the floor was bad or if he was frustrated by the silly foul committed by Adams some 80+ feet away from the basket. Here was his reaction:
He was given a technical, Melo Trimble hit 3 of the 4 free throws he was given and Maryland never looked back. After the game, Ollie said, “I just hit the stand where the papers were.” Adding, “I didn’t see the papers and the papers went flying, so that’s the only thing I did.”
Oh really? Take a look at that video again and tell me he didn’t reach for the papers a few times.
But that isn’t to take anything away from Maryland. This was a big time win for the Terps after losing a tight one at UNC a week ago. Diamond Stone has gotten better and better each game for Maryland and last night he was unstoppable. He finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds, season-highs in both categories.
But it was still the Melo Trimble show. Trimble finished with a game-high 25 points including a not-so out of the ordinary 14/15 from the free throw line, with the only miss being one of the technical free throws, imagine that. Rasheed Sulaimon, Jake Laymen and Robert Carter Jr. all finished with 8 points for the Terps. Carter led Maryland with 11 boards while Sulaimon threw down a monsterous, Dez Wells-like dunk, that brought the faithful wearing red to their feet.
UConn fans certainly outnumbered Maryland fans, but they were quiet for the majority of the game as Maryland was in control until the five minute stretch late in the second-half.
UConn’s Daniel Hamilton and Rodney Purvis were the best players on the floor during that stretch in which they knocked down a combined four 3-balls to recharge the Huskies crowd. Hamilton finished with a team-high 23 on 8-19 shooting, while Purvis scored all 11 of his points in the second half.
This was the last big non-conference matchup for Maryland who opens up Big Ten play on December 30 against Penn State.
UConn still has Ohio State this coming Saturday at home and then a trip down to Austin on December 29 before they start AAC play.