Maryland star Melo Trimble adds passing, defense to his game

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Melo Trimble can still score, and he remains Maryland's go-to guy with the game on the line.

Those qualities, established a year ago during his freshman season, have been enhanced by the ability to find the open man and shut down the opposition on the other end of the court.

Trimble is the leading scorer for the seventh-ranked Terrapins (17-2, 6-1 Big Ten). His average of 13.9 points per game is down from 16.2 a year ago, but that's partly because the 6-foot-2 point guard is surrounded by talent and eager to get everyone involved offensively.

''That's part of me showcasing my all-around game,'' Trimble said. ''I'm not just known as a scorer anymore. I'm a complete point guard. I like to get my teammates involved. I'll do whatever it takes to get the win.''

Example: Trimble had a team-high six assists Tuesday night, including two in overtime, in a victory over Northwestern.

Trimble began the extra session with a three-point play. That forced Northwestern to be even more wary of his move to the basket, and Trimble responded with drives that resulted in baskets by Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone.

''That's just me playing basketball and taking what the defense gives me,'' Trimble said. ''Last year, I wouldn't have made that play. This year, I see the court better. And also, I'm watching more film to see where my looks are for plays down the stretch.''

Not just on the offensive end. Trimble leads the Terps with 25 steals, has 46 rebounds and helped limit Wildcats guard Bryant McIntosh to 13-for-18 shooting.

''His defense on McIntosh, he did an unbelievable job on him,'' coach Mark Turgeon said.

A year ago, Trimble and Dez Wells were the most viable offensive options for the Terrapins. This team has five players averaging in double figures, so Trimble has no problem deciding whether to shoot or pass.

''He's just a tough guy to guard because now he's got so many weapons,'' Northwestern coach Chris Collins said. ''He's passing really well and presents so many problems when he gets around you. If you put too many guys on him, he's going to hit Rasheed (Sulaimon), he's going to hit Jake (Layman), he's going to hit Diamond, he's going to hit Robert. It's a tough call.''

Trimble's maturation on the court is not necessarily complete.

He beat Wisconsin with a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left on Jan. 9, but against Northwestern he misfired from beyond the arc at the end of regulation. Turgeon briefly scolded Trimble for his decision to shoot from the outside before sending him back on the court to win the game in overtime.

''He just told me to go to the basket next time,'' Trimble said with sheepish grin. ''He said a lot of other things but that's all I heard. I moved on. Pretty much, he got on me but it was cool.''

Next up for Maryland: A matchup on the road against Michigan State, losers of three straight following a 16-1 start. As with Northwestern, the Terrapins know the Spartans (16-4, 3-4) will be not be lacking incentive to win.

''We're the top team in the league,'' Trimble said, ''and teams are going to do anything they can to beat us.''