This was a strange game. By that, I mean that while after the first 10 minutes, it never felt like Jacksonville State was going to fully mount a comeback effort to win or even make things overly interesting. Having said that, it also never really felt like Maryland was in complete and total control.
The Terrapins have had their fair share of uneven efforts to start the season, but in the end, this team continues to win and is now sitting at 11-1. Let’s take a look at how things unfolded on Monday night.
Game of the Night
Maryland Terrapins 92, Jacksonville State Gamecocks 66
Uneven is my word of choice to describe the Maryland effort on Monday night, but a win is a win and a 26 point margin is always healthy enough to relieve some anxiety. If you’re the Terrapins, you’ve got a lot to be happy with from this win, including the balance.
Maryland finished the game with six players in double figures, led by junior point guard and All-American candidate Melo Trimble. Trimble finished with 21 points and had a hyper-efficient night, shooting 6-7 from the floor and 7-7 from the free throw line. On this very young team, there’s no question at all who the leader and the trendsetter is and Trimble delivered in a big way on Monday.
Big man Michal Cekovsky also had a nice night for the Terrapins, finishing with 15 points on 6-8 shooting. The front line size and depth of Maryland was simply overwhelming for a Gamecocks team that has nine new players, a new head coach and has played 10 of its now 11 games on the road to start the season.
Because of the lack of depth for Jacksonville State, foul trouble and the free throw line became a huge story line in this game. Maryland held a 35 to 18 advantage in free throw attempts, including a 27-12 advantage in free throws made. All the while, many of Jacksonville State’s free throw attempts came in the waning minutes of the game after the outcome had long been decided.
There aren’t many areas that you can look at for Maryland from this game specifically to see and say, “That needs to improve drastically for them to compete”, but all the while you just get the sense that they should be up by more. As I mentioned, Jacksonville State has nine new players, a first year D-I head coach and for much of the game, it felt like they were hanging around just enough to keep you watching. The Gamecocks certainly deserve credit for their toughness and fight, but if you’re Maryland, this is a game you’d like to have put away handily by halftime.
In the long run, however, a win is a win, and the Terrapins have more of those than any other team in the Big Ten. It will certainly be interesting to see how their games change as the competition changes later in the year, but Melo Trimble has constantly proven he’s a winner. This year has been no exception.