After watching Trimble hit several shots early in the game, Turgeon thought he would score 25 points by the end of the day. But in another move that has become a part of Trimble’s identity, he went long stretches without shooting or even penetrating into the lane, rather remaining patient to set up his teammates and facilitate Turgeon’s offensive philosophy of playing “inside-out.” He finished with seven assists, which was far more important than scoring 13 points on just nine shots.
“I didn’t think I had to do too much. I knew my teammates were going to step up throughout the game,” Trimble said. “When they need me to score a lot, I’m going to do it.”
Trimble said on Tuesday that it would’ve been difficult to sense his offensive role in Sunday’s win just two months ago, when he was still trying to coalesce with backcourt-mate Rasheed Sulaimon and a cast of other players. But as Turgeon continues to hammer away at spots of vulnerability – specifically on defense and with rebounding – he’s continued to watch his offense evolve. As Big Ten play begins on Wednesday night against Penn State, Turgeon expects to continue adding wrinkles to his NBA-influenced sets. His team has struggled at times against zone defenses – including against mid-majors Illinois State, Rider and Princeton – but Maryland has found ways to adapt as the season has worn on.
“Our guys are starting to know what a good shot is. I thought we forced a few the other day, more so than we have in a while,” Turgeon said. “Zone offense is a little bit different than man offense.”
Even has Turgeon winced at several ill-advised three-point attempts early against Marshall, the shot selection overall has improved. Maryland ranks third nationally in shooting percentage (53.3) and three-point percentage (41.1), the latter of which was bolstered by 13-of-27 shooting beyond the arc against Marshall.
Maryland power forward Robert Carter Jr. had two of those three-pointers on seven attempts, finishing with 19 points as he blended his outside game with a powerful inside scoring presence. He illustrated the balance that Turgeon wants his players to strike as Big Ten play begins – to remain aggressive in attacking the lane while retaining the confidence to unleash outside shots.
“He can shoot it. We’re still developing our offense, coming together and adding things as we go,” Turgeon said of Carter, who is shooting 59.6 percent per game and is one of five Maryland players averaging double figures. “I think he’ll be a weapon from three as the year goes on.”
It’s a balance that Trimble learned throughout his freshman season, when he proved himself as one of the most gifted scorers in the Big Ten. He’ll read about himself online sometimes, often seeing analysts labeling him as a shooting guard. Turgeon boldly said Tuesday that is wrong. Trimble, who leads the team in points per game (14.8), assists (70), steals (18) and free throw percentage (85.0) is hungry to prove himself as a true point guard and become a catalyst for Maryland’s blossoming offense.
“It’s been pretty amazing what Melo is doing,” Turgeon said. “He knows when he has to turn it on offensively for us.”