In a widely seeded affair at Nationwide Arena, No. 4 Maryland grinded out a win over No. 13 Valparaiso, 65-62. Valpo came up short in the first half and, while keeping the Terrapins in reach, never got back into against a Maryland team shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
The first half started with a turnover by the Terrapins, but Valparaiso failed to capitalize as Damonte Dodd slammed a great block. This set the tone for the half, as defense was the name of the game. Maryland totaled 4 blocks and 4 steals in the first half. With the game remaining close and heated, Alec Peters made a deep three to bring Valpo within four going into the half, 27-31.
Like the first half, the second started with two immediate turnovers, and then an additional block. Valpo maintained pressure and kept up the scoring, but Maryland maintained the lead all the way through the half, never falling behind. In the final minutes, fouling became rampant, and the Terrapins 75-percent free throw shooting won out, over Valparaiso’s subpar 55.6 percent. Tevonn Walker missed a crucial free throw, making only one, that failed to bring them within two points, and Evan Smotrycz made a key steal to lock up the game.
Melo Trimble stepped up big for Maryland, with 14 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, both key. Showing dominance beyond his reputation, he took over the game. He made 5 key free throws in the second half, helping to pull ahead as the fouls rained down.
Strange, Yet True
There were 12 fouls in the last five minutes of the game, with Valpo making less than half of their free throws during this time.
No. 4 Maryland heads on to the Round of 32, where they’ll take on No. 5 WVU. This looks to be a good one, as both teams have a young star coming into the game with hot hands. Valparaiso ends its season at 28-6, in the Round of 64.