Terps Rally Past Those Upstarts At USC Upstate, 67-57.

Sports and Bets — December 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm by

The University of Maryland was giving away free bagels and coffee for the Terps’ 11 a.m. contest with the USC Upstate Spartans, which was a lovely gesture.  Fortunately for the Maryland faithful, the Terps were able to wake up in time to rally past the surprisingly tough USC Upstate Spartans  And I only say surprisingly because I had never in the hell heard of this Upstate school- even as mid-major basketball program in the Sun Belt, which is where they play their conference ball.   But once the ball tipped in the wee hours of the late morning/early afternoon at the Xfinity Center, it became apparent that Upstate was no pushover.  They hung tough with Maryland to start the half and then had the nerve to pull out to an eight point lead.  The half would end with Upstate leading 28-24 and I was ready to upchuck the egg sandwich I had enjoyed for Saturday Terp brunch.

But no worries, babes.  Led by Jake Layman and Melo Trimble, the Terps would overtake Upstate and then take a ten point lead.  Layman led the Terps with 17 points, and after struggling a bit in the first half, Jake would pace Maryland in the second frame and hit several big shots down the stretch, including a big three pointer with 1:36 remaining.  That three put the Terps back up seven and was the official, “sigh of relief shot”.

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Maryland struggled a bit with the Spartans’ zone defense.  The Spartans are one of the best defensive teams that Maryland has faced all year; and Upstate beat Georgia Tech just last weekend, so they definitely aren’t a team that intimidates easy. (Three senior starters that have played together for four years is the reason for that.) Maryland had trouble shooting over the zone early as the Spartans pressed the perimeter.  But Maryland stayed patient and Melo Trimble kept attacking the rim and breaking down the Upstate zone.  As he did, some threes finally fell and the Terps were able to dictate offense.  Trimble’s attacking style, along with Layman’s range and versatility, won this game on the offensive side for Maryland.

But the real winner was Maryland’s D.  The Turtles played great perimeter defense, limiting the Spartans to 5 of 22 shooting beyond the arc.  The Terps’ second half rally fed off of defensive stops and good defense.  The Terps may struggle down low on defense all season, so it’s good to see them tightening up the outside pressure.

Other Game Notes:

Evan Smotrycz returned from ankle and foot injuries to play 18 big minutes.  Evan had 10 points and 6 boards.  Real pleasant.

Melo Trimble had 12 points and 12 rebounds to go along with 3 assists.  This guy literally does it all.  Star turtle.

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Damonte Dodd had eight points and four boards.  That’s nice minutes, but I’d love to see him get his big self more active and aggressive on the glass.  Rebounding is an attitude, babes.

The Terps get a seven day rest before travelling to Oklahoma State.  They have the worst camera angle for TV in sports.  Watching games there is like watching a basketball game in a damn snow globe.

 

cover pic: foxsports

 

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