COLLEGE PARK — After watching the majority of its shots clang off the rim during a lackluster first half, No. 6 Maryland used a pressing defense to revive its stagnant offense.
Melo Trimble scored 18 points and the Terrapins found their shooting form after halftime Saturday in a 77-56 victory over Maryland Eastern Shore.
Following a first half in which the Terrapins missed 15 of 26 shots and led only 35-26, coach Mark Turgeon called for a 1-3-1 press. In addition to forcing five turnovers, Maryland (9-1) made its first eight shots from the field during a 27-11 run that increased the lead to 62-40.
“It’s just pressuring the ball,” said Trimble, who contributed three 3-pointers to the surge. “That pretty much got us going, offensively and defensively.”
Maryland didn’t miss a field goal try in the second half until Michal Cekovsky botched a layup with 8:45 remaining.
It was 69-46 with 5:35 left, and the Terrapins coasted from there. Maryland shot 63 percent in the second half and finished 21-for-24 from the free-throw line.
“Good win for us,” Turgeon said. “We weren’t great all the time but we were good enough in stretches. At the start of the second half we looked good because we made shots.”
Dominique Elliott led UMES (1-9) with 20 points on 8-for-12 shooting.
After a 78-35 thrashing by No. 1 Michigan State, the Hawks put up a far better fight in this one — especially in the first half.
“Trimble got going and made some big shots and kind of took the game away from us,” coach Bobby Collins said, “but I’m just proud of the effort and of how my guys performed today.”
Rasheed Sulaimon had a career-high 10 assists for Maryland and Diamond Stone added 12 points and six rebounds. The Terrapins have won three consecutive games since their lone loss at North Carolina and now face a week of exams before playing again.
“I thought we were physically ready. I don’t know if were mentally quite there,” Turgeon said. “In the end, we did what we had to do.”
Maryland’s halftime lead could be attributed in part to a 9-for-10 performance at the free throw line compared to three of four for UMES.
Just before the break, the Terrapins were working the clock for a final shot when senior Jake Layman casually threw a pass that was intercepted by Derrico Peck, who dunked the ball on the opposite end.
Turgeon called a timeout with 2.6 seconds left to scold his players. He continued the conversation in the locker room at halftime.
“They knew I was disappointed, and they were disappointed in themselves,” Turgeon said. “We just talked about playing a little bit harder, then we changed our defense, which kind of got us going. Then we made some shots.”
After beginning the game by making five of its first six attempts, Maryland went 1-for-11 from the field and led only 20-17 after going scoreless for nearly three minutes.
Stone then made two baskets and a free throw in a 13-2 run.
The Hawks fell to 0-17 against Maryland. In addition to losing to highly touted Maryland, Georgetown and Michigan State, UMES is 0-2 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.