No. 25 Maryland Grinds Out Win Over American
College Park, MD – Maryland edged out American 62-56, by pulling away in the last few minutes of the game. In a season after Maryland lost four of its five starters to the pros, the Terps showed what might be their achilles heel. Other than AP All-American Honorable Mention Melo Trimble they lack pure scorers that can create. Maryland struggled to get any continuity and offense going throughout the entire game. They had a few spurts and runs, but nothing consistent. Melo was relied on heavily to bail them out near the end of the shot clock, something that seems to be a reoccurring theme of his career thus far. American showed some real grit and was competitive throughout. They showed that they will be in the race to be one of the top teams in the Patriot League.
The Eagles top returning scorer from last year Delante Jones, a 6’5 195 lbs. sophomore shooting guard, struggled to get it going in the first half. His shots weren’t falling and he seemed to be pressing a bit much. Jones used his length to get to the basket and his solid shooting stroke in the second half to finish with ten points, three assists, two rebounds while hitting two big three’s late in the game. The player that kept the Eagles in touch with the Terps throughout was freshman point guard Sa’eed Nelson (6’1 175). Nelson provided stability and continuity to the Eagles lineup playing a total of 35 minutes. Nelson made an impact on both ends of the floor. On offense he excelled at getting in the lane and drawing contact. While he did not record any assists he kept his teammates involved and made passes that led to other teammates getting assists. On defense Nelson played the passing lanes very well and scored on multiple turnovers on the break. Nelson finished with 12 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals in 35 minutes.
Other impact players for American were freshman center Mark Gasperini (6’10 250) and senior forward Leon Tolksdorf (6’8 225). Gasperini led the team with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists while making two three’s. Tolksdorf finished with eight points, two assists and two made three’s.
For Maryland the offense seemed to look eerily similar to coach Mark Turgeon’s entire tenure. There was a lot of dribble hand off and screens and then when the Terps realized they were running out of time it turned into high pick and roll ball. Luckily for the Terps they have one of the best options to bail them out in the country in junior point guard Melo Trimble (6’3 185). Trimble excels in running the pick and roll and attacking the lane. That is where he will make his money at the next level. Melo was Maryland’s only consistent offense in the game. It seems that he could have been even more aggressive if he wanted to, almost getting to the rim at will. Melo tried to set things up for his teammates, but it was a very uninspiring offense to say the least. Trimble finished with a game high 22 points, four assists and three rebounds.
Starting next to Trimble was top 100 recruit, point guard Anthony Cowan (6’0 165). Cowan was a pest on defense and pressured ball handlers all night. On offense, Cowan played some point even with Melo on the floor. He showed he will be a great option to run the team if Turgeon wants Melo to play off the ball. Cowan was also the most active rebounder tying for the game lead with nine rebounds, five of which were offensive. Cowan finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
Maryland also had a good showing from Duquesne graduate transfer L.G. Gill (6’8 230). Gill, a power forward, scored several times in the post using a right hook. He was very active on the glass, which led him to go 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
Maryland will have to figure things out fast as they prepare for local rival Georgetown. They will have to execute at a much higher level on offense and be ready for Georgetown’s Princeton offense.
Up next for Maryland is @ Georgetown on Tuesday.
Up next for American is @ Texas A&M on Monday.