By Megan Smedley
The Terps rang in the New Year with a 72-59 first conference win on the road against Northwestern. This victory gave head coach Mark Turgeon his 100th career victory at Maryland. Despite coming off a record-setting, 39-point game, Diamond Stone began the game on the bench. But not for long, as Stone entered the game after three minutes and quickly marked his presence. Stone sunk two field goals within about 30 seconds. He slammed dunked two from Trimble. Northwestern struggled early offensively committing six turnovers in the first five minutes of the game. The Terps initially struggled from the arch but Jared Nickens and Rasheed Sulaimon nabbed two quick threes to put the team up 15-9 halfway through the first half. Following his under-performance against Penn State, Rasheed Sulaimon promised to give the team more offense, said Mark Turgeon. And that he did. Sulaimon was perfect through the half, leading the team with 13 points. Melo Trimble struggled with his 3s again, but put up seven points and seven assists in the first half. The team overall shot 50 percent in the half and only turned the ball over once. Maryland’s defense dominated the half, forcing eight turnovers, blocking six shots, and stealing six balls. Northwestern was held to only eight baskets, shooting only 32 percent. The Terps led at the half, 40-20.
“I thought our energy level was great at the first half,” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “Our guys were dialed in. Guys like Melo are getting better defensively, Diamond’s getting better defensively. Jaylen Brantley, I thought gave us big minutes too out there…a lot of guys stepped up and played well.”
Maryland continued their dominance throughout the second half. Melo Trimble took control hitting three after three, most of which were a couple of feet beyond the arch. Trimble had 17 points in the second half. Jake Layman struggled with his ball control in the second half. He turned it over six times. Trimble and Sulaimon hit the majority of their threes as the shot clock wound down. Diamond Stone continued making a name for himself with his dunks and smart plays. Big Ten analyst Jon Crispin called Stone, “A man amongst boys.” It was an overall team effort for the win. Melo Trimble led with 24 points, eights assists, and eight rebounds. Sulaimon finished with 16 points and Stone had 10 points. Maryland shot 47 percent in the game.
“We really shared the ball,” said Turgeon. “Our guards’ assist-turnover ratio, Rasheed and Melo, was tremendous.”
Maryland’s defense was its strongest tonight with nine blocks and nine steals. Robert Carter Jr. led the team with three blocks and three steals.
“We were as good defensively as we’ve been,” said Turgeon. “The things that we tried to take away, we took away.”
With this win, Maryland improves to 13-1 on the season (2-0 BIG). The team returns to College Park this week to face off against Rutgers on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.