For as smooth as Rasheed Sulaimon’s jumper was in the opening minutes of the Terrapins men’s basketball team’s 72-59 win at Northwestern, Melo Trimble’s was wild.
Coach Mark Turgeon has referred to his pair of starting guards as the best backcourt in the country, but Trimble didn’t look like himself early. He missed his first four shots — all 3-pointers — and his fourth bounced off the side edge of the glass.
The sophomore finally converted a pretty layup with 8:40 to go in the half, sparking a Northwestern timeout. But he wasn’t happy. After grabbing a towel from a team official, he cracked it in the air in frustration and paced over to his teammates.
About three minutes later, Trimble bowed his head and clapped his hands together, having just buried a 3-point attempt from the top of the key. From then on, he was a new player.
By the end of the game, Trimble had exceeded Sulaimon’s 16 points with 24 of his own as the Terps rolled to their second straight win to start conference play. Here are my postgame grades.
Guard Melo Trimble: B+
Trimble was most definitely lost in his head in the early going, with his frustration mounting with each miss. But he was dialed in during the second half, going 4-for-5 from long range and killing any chance Northwestern had to build a late run. He also added eight rebounds and eight assists to complete a stellar day.
Guard Rasheed Sulaimon: B+
The graduate transfer was as hot as could be in the first half, converting all five of his attempts, including three from deep. He often created his own shot, too, juking out defenders to create space. Sulaimon also finished with six rebounds and six assists.
Forward Jake Layman: B
The senior is far from the Terps’ go-to scorer, but he really doesn’t have to be with Sulaimon and Trimble around. He seemed to always be fighting for the ball and trying to keep Terps possessions alive Saturday. Layman pulled down eight rebounds — two on the offensive glass — blocked two shots and even scored nine points.
Forward Robert Carter Jr.: B-
Carter was 0-for-3 from beyond the arc, which is the least surprising outcome of this game. I’m beginning to think he’s trying to develop a solid three-point shot for the pro’s, and Turgeon lets him take them because Carter does so many other things well. He blocked three shots and had three steals tonight, so he was productive.
Center Diamond Stone: B+
The freshman logged just 22 minutes off the bench, but he was still one of three Terps to reach double figures with 10 points. He was a perfect 4-for-4 and blocked two shots.