Coach Mark Turgeon was feeling the pressure. His Terrapins men's basketball team was playing well, but not well enough. In an energy-charged Kohl Center, the No. 3 Terps were struggling to mount separation against a Wisconsin team that entered the Saturday tilt with a 9-7 mark.
So Turgeon took off his suit jacket. He fixed his glare toward the court. And he coached his Terps to a thrilling 63-60 win over the Badgers. Wisconsin made it interesting late, with guard Bronson Koenig tying the game on a 3-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to send the Badgers fans into euphoria.
Turgeon opted not to call a timeout. Guard Melo Trimble brought the ball up, kept the ball at the top of the key and held his follow through as his game-winning 3-pointer fell through the netting.
It was that type of day for the Terps' leader, as he finished with 21 points and five assists to bolster his candidacy for National Player of the Year and seal the Terps' best start in school history with a 15-1 record.
As the Terps celebrated, a young Badgers fan covered his ears with his hands.
In a game the Terps couldn't afford to lose, Trimble put the team on his back. Here are my postgame grades.
Guard Melo Trimble: A
The sophomore had three turnovers, but aside from that, was as good as he could be. Whenever the Terps needed a boost, he was there. With the Terps trailing 12-11 early on, he got into the lane on three straight possessions for two layups and one of his five assists. He hit big shot after big shot, none bigger than the one from the top of the key with two seconds remaining.
Guard Rasheed Sulaimon: C+
Sulaimon was quiet from the field on a day the Terps could've used his scoring touch. He is to be commended for not trying to force much, but the Terps needed more than four points from Sulaimon.
Forward Jake Layman: B
Same deal for Layman, who also finished with four points. But he gets a better grade because of the solid man defense he played. He recorded two blocks and had a nifty score and steal.
Forward Robert Carter Jr.: B+
It was an up-and-down day for Carter. He looked great at times — nailing a sweet fade away jumper late in the first half. But he also looked not so great — trying unsuccessfully to score while surrounded by four Badgers defenders in the paint in the second half. Still, he was the only Terp to notch a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds and knocked down the Terps' first 3-pointer of the game to give the team a 42-40 lead with 13:51 left in the game. He also posted four blocks.
Forward Damonte Dodd: B
Dodd was the beneficiary of Trimble's stellar passing, as he led the team with nine points at the break. He didn't score again in the second half but provided key buckets while center Diamond Stone got into some foul trouble in the opening 20 minutes. He didn't play his customary strong defense, though.
Center Diamond Stone: B
The 18-year-old Stone is to be commended for keeping levelheaded while boos rained down every time he touched the ball in his homecoming. He might've been a bit frazzled at first — he committed two fouls in the first half — but he knocked down a couple of long jumpers and totaled 11 points of 4-for-5 shooting.