Maryland’s Potential Exhibited in Win Over UConn

Posted by Brendan Brody on December 10th, 2015

The phrase “coming-out party” is one that is overused when referring to a newcomer who finally puts everything together. However, if we are talking about Diamond Stone‘s Jimmy V Classic coming-out party on Tuesday night (in Maryland’s 76-66 win over Connecticut), the description couldn’t be more apt. The freshman had his best game of the season as the Terrapins rode his efforts along with sophomore point guard Melo Trimble to grab their biggest win to date. It was a showing that offered another reminder that Mark Turgeon‘s team has a chance to be special.

Diamond Stone Had His Best Game of the Season at the Jimmy V Classic (USA Today Images)

Diamond Stone Had His Best Game of the Season at the Jimmy V Classic (USA Today Images)

On a night when Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman didn’t really get going, it was Stone and Trimble who took over. Stone matched his season high in points (16) while grabbing a season-best nine rebounds against the Huskies. It didn’t seem to matter that the freshman was engaged in a matchup with experienced UConn big man Amida Brimah, as Stone tallied six offensive boards in attacking the glass all night long. Last season, Trimble, Layman and Dez Wells were relied upon heavily as the only legitimate offensive threats. This year, the team’s inside attack packs significantly more punch, with Stone and fellow newcomer Robert Carter offering a sturdy complement to the outside scoring of Trimble. All in all, the win over the Huskies was yet another piece of evidence that Turgeon may have the best starting five in the Big Ten, and perhaps even nationally.

Trimble hasn’t been putting up monster scoring numbers as a sophomore, but the nice thing about this year’s team is that he doesn’t need to. In the second half of Tuesday night’s game, he got to the line repeatedly and converted 14 of 15 free throw attempts once there. Whether because of Maryland’s additional firepower or just his evolving game, Trimble’s assist rate has also climbed nearly 10 percent this season — from 21.2 percent a season ago to 31.3 percent. He only logged three assists against the Huskies, but he has shown a greater knack for involving his teammates. The Terps made a conscious effort to get Stone the ball in the first half, and this sort of attention to the game plan and distribution didn’t always occur last season.

Maryland showed in this week’s win that it is most definitely for real. The Terps’ defense still needs some work — UConn was able to shoot its way back into the game — and they are turning the ball over a bit too much (2o.1 percent turnover rate), but few teams can hang with Maryland when they are clicking. Michigan State and Purdue have both proven themselves as capable Big Ten contenders, but Maryland too has a legitimate opportunity to win this league. A performance like we saw on Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden shows exactly why.

Brendan Brody (307 Posts)

Brendan Brody is in his fourth season covering the Big Ten for RTC. Email him at, or follow him on twitter @berndon4.

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