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What We Learned: Maryland 88, Charlotte 72

Maryland closed out their non-conference slate with a win, improving to 12-1 on the year.

NCAA Basketball: Charlotte at Maryland Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This isn’t the most flashy game on the schedule, but those are sometimes the most dangerous.

The Maryland Terrapins did not take this opponent, or any mid-major opponent, for granted to start off this season. They have gotten off to a very good 12-1 start to the season, with their only loss coming to a very tough Pittsburgh team.

The Terps do not have any flashy wins, but this game showed some signs that they are composed, balanced, and potentially dangerous down the stretch.

Lets see what we learned from this performance.

What We Learned:

1. This Anthony Cowan is what Maryland needs.

The freshman guard was superb in this game against Charlotte.

Cowan came into this game as the third-leading scorer on the team, averaging 10.2 points per game on 44% shooting. On Tuesday night, he was both aggressive and efficient.

His speed is one of his greatest attributes, as it helps him in his attack of the basket. His ball-handling is also something that the team needs. Those two attributes give them a down-hill guard to play next to Melo Trimble, who has a more complete scoring game.

Cowan had 5 assists in this game and shot 9-of-10 form the free-throw line. That indicates that he was both driving, and dishing effectively. If he can be that primary ball-handler and attacker on offense, it will open up more opportunities for Trimble off the ball.

If Cowan plays like he did on Tuesday night, then he and Trimble form a great backcourt.

2. Mark Turgeon’s team is focused.

This has been evident so far this season, with this win being a cherry on top.

They steamrolled Charlotte, finishing with no really bad losses on the record for the beginning of the season. This is crucial come NCAA Tournament time, as teams with losses to no-name schools could get bounced from high-seeding, and even the tournament itself if their season is up-and-down.

But this Maryland team has been calm and steady, with no such losses, and none have been that scary either.

On top of plowing through small schools like Charlotte, they have also won three one-point games thus far against Power Five competition.

Mark Turgeon’s fingerprints are all over this team, as they have not beaten themselves in games like they had on Tuesday night. There have been no major malfunctions with the Terps so far.

3. In the end, Maryland will go as far as Trimble takes them.

The other pieces like Cowan, Justin Jackson, and Michal Cekovsky are showing up, but the star is what will take this team to great heights.

Melo Trimble did his thing against Charlotte, with a cool 21 points and an efficient 7-for-12 shooting line.

No matter how well supporting pieces play, if Trimble is not good, then Maryland probably isn’t either. Tonight Trimble was the leader on the floor that the Terps need, with both his play and his demeanor.

In his time at the school, Trimble has emerged as a more efficient, smart player and now is his time to have the keys to the team to himself after the offseason departures of Jake Layman and Robert Carter.

Tonight was another showing of how good and how smooth Trimble has become. But the Terps will need more of the same, and maybe more than that, if they want to make a serious postseason run.

Overall

This game is not one that will define a season.

But it is indicative of what Maryland has been so far.

They are a calm, cool, collected team that doesn’t beat themselves or lose bad games. They have a dynamic freshman guard that has the potential to be a perfect fit for what they want to do. And they have a star of college basketball that could take them very far.

It was another day at the office for the Terps, who at 12-1, are a tough out for any of the Big Ten’s elite.

And by season’s end, could be in that category themselves.