December 18, 2015

Though Maryland has been far from dominant during its third 9-1 start in four seasons, Melo Trimble has been able to push the Terrapins over the hump of late.

High-scoring forward Henry Caruso is doing the same for a veteran Princeton team.

The sixth-ranked Terps are seeking some consistency along with a fourth straight win Saturday night when they take on the Tigers at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

Maryland had to rally late to beat unranked Georgetown, Rider and Illinois State by a combined 22 points last month. It then trailed throughout its only matchup against a ranked opponent Dec. 1, falling 89-81 at then-No. 9 North Carolina.

More recently, the Terps had a 20-point lead sliced to three by Connecticut before winning 76-66 on Dec. 8 in New York. They nursed a six-point halftime edge over Maryland Eastern Shore last Saturday before pulling away for a 77-56 victory.

"They expect more out of themselves," coach Mark Turgeon said.

Trimble averaged 16.8 points on 52.6 percent shooting to help the Terps escape a four-game November stretch that included those three close calls. He did his best with 23 points and 12 assists against the Tar Heels, and totaled 43 points in his last two games to earn Big Ten co-player of the week honors.

The sophomore guard went 14 for 15 from the free-throw line against the Huskies and hit 5 of 6 shots from the field - including all four of his 3-point attempts - against the Hawks.

"He has a feel that you can't teach," Turgeon said. "He knows when he needs to do it and when he doesn't need to do it. That's what makes him who he is."

Turgeon's team turned things around last Saturday by going to a 1-3-1 press in the second half. It might need a more complete defensive effort to extend its winning streak.

Princeton (6-2) ranks second among Ivy League teams with 77.0 points per game and isn't far off the school-record 79.7 average set in 1971-72.

The Tigers, who have brought back all five starters, also lead Ivy schools with 11.3 turnovers per game and are second with a plus-6.9 rebounding margin. The Terps have a plus-5.3 margin but were outrebounded 28-26 by Maryland Eastern Shore.

Maryland will certainly need to keep a close watch on Caruso, whose team-high 18.5 scoring average is the team's highest since Brian Taylor had a 25.0 mark in 1971-72.

Since totaling 23 points on 7-of-20 shooting (35.0 percent) in consecutive defeats, the junior forward has scored a combined 53 and shot 54.5 percent (18 of 33) in wins over Lipscomb and Liberty. He had a career-high 29 and nine rebounds in Thursday's 77-72 home victory.

"We're confident that the coaches will give us a great scouting report and plan of attack so we can go down there, compete hard and be in a great spot to win," Caruso said.

This meeting will take place on the 17th anniversary of Maryland's 81-58 victory over Princeton in Baltimore. In the most recent matchup in December 2001, the Terps claimed their fourth straight win in the series, 61-53 in Washington, D.C.

Princeton has dropped 38 of 44 all-time meetings with teams ranked sixth or higher. Its last win over such an opponent came in January 1977 against No. 2 Notre Dame.

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