Not long after the start of the second half, Maryland star point guard Melo Trimble buckled after taking a huge hit from West Virginia’s Nathan Adrian. What should have been called a moving screen was not and Trimble, for the second time during the game, was on the ground in obvious pain.
Minutes later, Trimble leapt to try and intercept a long Mountaineer pass, but landed awkwardly before taking an inadvertent knee to the head from teammate Damonte Dodd. Trimble again lay writhing on the court and was helped to the bench, where he remained for the rest of the game. He appeared emotional and inconsolable, but mostly helpless, as he had to watch his team hand a winnable game to West Virginia, 69-59.
At halftime, Maryland trailed 35-34, despite converting 55% from the floor (and 67% from deep) and outshooting the Mountaineers by 19 percentage points. It looked fluky, a team shooting so well yet unable to claim a halftime lead. But the Mountaineers had forced nine Terrapins turnovers and cleaned up on the offensive glass, corralling nine offensive rebounds, generating 11 more shot attempts and collecting 10 second-chance points.
The second half only got worse for the Maryland offense. West Virginia is No. 1 in the country in total steals and presses constantly, even on misses. Trimble was the only legitimate ballhandler who had any success against the press—senior Dez Wells eventually fouled out with nine points and eight turnovers—and once Trimble exited the game, the wheels came off.
Maryland only averaged about 12 turnovers per game entering Sunday night. It committed a whopping 23 and might as well have been begging the Mountaineers to advance to the Sweet 16; West Virginia’s relentless defense gladly obliged with 11 steals and 26 points off the Terps’ giveaways.
Despite the Terrapins’ offensive struggles, the game was relatively close until the end because the Mountaineers shot 40%, but hovered closer to 30 for most of the game.
Trimble paced Maryland with a team-high 15 points and seven rebounds, while Jake Layman dropped in 10. The Terps shot 48% from the floor and 42% from behind the arc, but attempted 16 fewer shots than West Virginia.
West Virginia will face No. 1 Kentucky in the Sweet 16.