SPOKANE, Wash. -- Thirty-two minutes into Sunday night's game, Maryland guard Melo Trimble threw his head back with relief. For the first time all night, it looked as though the pressure between his eyes and the weight on his shoulders had begun to dissipate.
After 15 missed 3-point attempts by his team, one had finally gone in. In some ways, perhaps, the poor shooting start was a good sign. Coming into this game, Maryland was 8-1 in games in which it shot 25 percent or worse from long range. And following the Terrapins’ 73-60 win over Hawaii in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Maryland could move that mark up a notch -- 9-1 in games in which it shot 25 percent or worse from 3.
Trimble’s 3-pointer came at a pivotal moment, midway through a 14-0 Maryland run, the biggest dagger of his game-high 24 points.
Up until that run, it had seemed as though the building’s energy had turned entirely for Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors fan base -- eagerly shaking their 1,000 ti leaves that had been shipped from the islands for this game -- had electrified the Oregon and St. Joe’s fans waiting for their own teams to tip off later that night.
But slowly, as Maryland’s energy picked up, its shots started to fall and its lead started to extend. What wasn’t apparent before became clear -- a team that can stay in a game against a very aggressive opponent, while still shooting goose eggs from range, is a team that will likely expand that lead when it does start gaining some momentum.
Following Trimble’s 3-pointer, the Terrapins went on a tear. From that point on, Maryland shot 6-of-9 from the floor and 17-of-17 from the free throw line. And although the Terrapins closed out the night without another made 3-pointer (Maryland shot a season-worst 6 percent from beyond the arc), that run was enough to put away a very hungry Hawaii team.
After that stretch, it was a similar look from Trimble, but rather than throwing back his head, he embraced sophomore Jaylen Brantley before heading to the locker rooms. Trimble's relief was evident, if for no reason other than the fact the game -- one that looked like it could so quickly get away from the Terrapins, one that looked so much like many other games this season -- was over and Maryland had stamped its ticket to the Sweet 16.