With the game slipping away, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon opted to bench dynamic guard Melo Trimble late in the second half against Wisconsin in their Big Ten clash. Trimble sat out the final 4:32 of the game with 27 points, as the Badgers held firm to win 71-60.
Trimble was subbed out during a Terrapins’ timeout with 4:32 remaining. He was coming off scoring 12 of Maryland’s last 14 points and they trailed 64-52. As action restarted it was the assumption by many Trimble would return to the game following the under-4:00 T.V. timeout.
However, when play resumed following Michal Cekovsky being helped off the floor following a foul, Trimble remained on the bench holding his towel. He watched the rest of the way as Maryland suffered it’s fifth loss of the season.
Following the game, Turgeon explained why his best player did not return to the game with his team struggling.
“He was tired, Turgeon said via Roman Stubbs of the Washington Post. “He was carrying us. He missed 2 free throws he never misses. He was tired.”
Trimble in fact missed his final three free throws. The last two were front ends of one-and-one’s. As his coach said, Trimble was carrying Maryland up to his exit. They struggled to move the ball inside, and was settling for long jumpers. But, Trimble got going and tried his best to keep the team in the game. Unfortunately it appears he ran out of steam.
Stubbs relayed, Turgeon added had Maryland made a run, he would have subbed Trimble back in the game. He also noted the team has four games in the next 10 days ahead of the Big Ten tournament.
Maryland at times lacks supporting help for Trimble. As he took over the Terrapins’ offense, his teammates got locked into sightseeing up to the point he ran out of gas.
Of course, there will be a negative reaction by some, as Trimble is an elite talent and players of his stature are expected to dig deep and finish strong especially with his team struggling. Turgeon on the other hand was protecting his player. And the Terps still have a chance to win the Big Ten despite the loss and falling back one game back for first place behind Wisconsin and Purdue. With four games remaining in the regular season, he has to think bigger picture.