Featured photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Maryland eked out a 62-56 win in a back-and-forth opener against American despite offensive issues for much of the game Friday night.
The Terps shot 38 percent from the field (20-of-52) and turned the ball over 18 times. American scored 23 points off those turnovers.
Head coach Mark Turgeon praised his team for its resilience, though, and said he told his players it’s normal to struggle out of the gate.
“Last year I watched Wisconsin, who lost a lot of players, lose their home opener to Western Illinois,” Turgeon said, “and they had a heck of a team. They went to the Sweet 16, won a lot of games and came into our building and beat us. So we figured out how to win, and we slowed it down and executed better.”
Senior forward L.G. Gill said Turgeon told the team their perseverance showed their mettle.
“We were out there at times struggling with this game, but he was saying that we came through, we battled through adversity, and that says a lot about this team,” Gill explained.
Ten different players saw the court, and Turgeon said he knows junior guard Melo Trimble is his best player, but he’s still figuring out everyone else.
“We are a definite work in progress,” he said. “Day to day I don’t know who my best players are. The good thing is I have choices. I think we’re going to be a heck of a team before it’s all said and done.”
Trimble, who had four turnovers himself, said the turnover issue will work itself out.
“I give it the first game,” Trimble said. “In practice we don’t turn the ball over. We run for turnovers. I know we’re going to get better.”
Trimble led the team, leading all scorers with 22 points and adding four assists. In many possessions, the Terps turned to him to do it himself. Trimble said he knew it was time to take over late in the game.
“Coach Turgeon trusted me in that situation, and my teammates did as well,” Trimble said. “I knew it was time to lead the team to a win, not just with my points but also me leading the team out there.”
As the game came down to the wire, four new players and Trimble were on the floor. Turgeon said he played who he thought was playing the best.
“I looked and there were four newcomers on the floor and Melo, and I was like, ‘Dang, must really believe in this group,’” Turgeon said.
Trimble said he kept the team calm even with the tight score.
“I’m the leader of the team. They know it’s my team,” he said. “They know it’s my team. Whenever I’m out there and I’m voicing my opinion, they listen. Today, down the stretch, in the huddles I was telling them to relax and that we were going to win this game.”
Edited by Max Marcilla.