COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Besides getting a heck of a scare and barely avoiding a painful defeat at home, No. 3 Maryland greatly benefited from the renewal of its series with neighborhood rival Georgetown.
The Terrapins were pressed to the limit before Rasheed Sulaimon hit a 3-pointer with 1:18 left to break a tie, enabling Maryland to escape with a 75-71 victory Tuesday night.
Melo Trimble scored 24 for the Terps (2-0), who were coming off a season-opening rout of Mount Saint Mary’s 80-56.
“I told our guys, man, we needed this,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “This was great. We figured out how to win the game. It lets them know we’re not invincible.”
The defeat was especially distasteful for the Hoyas because it came against Maryland. But coach John Thompson III realized after watching the teams go after each other in a clean game that this rivalry is very good for the Washington area.
“As bad as I feel — we feel — right now, hopefully in the long run, this will help us out,” he said. “It’s good for Georgetown.”
With the score tied at 68, Sulaimon made his only basket of the second half to put the Terrapins ahead to stay.
“I just took a shot with confidence and tried to make a big shot for my team. Fortunately, it went in,” said Sulaimon, who played his previous three seasons for Duke.
Two free throws by Trimble upped the margin to five points with 12 seconds left, assuring Maryland a victory. Trimble scored 13 points on the line, and Maryland took 32 foul shots compared to 12 for Georgetown.
Bradley Hayes had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Hoyas, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 14.
Jake Layman scored 15 for the Terrapins, all in the second half, and Robert Carter added 12.
This marked the first time since 1993 that the teams faced each other in the D.C. area, and the atmosphere reflected the significance of the game. Traffic was snarled outside the arena long before the game, and Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo was among those lucky enough to land a tough-to-get ticket among the 17,950 in the sellout crowd.
They will meet against next year on Georgetown’s home floor.
Georgetown led 44-37 before Smith-Rivera picked up his fourth foul with 14 minutes left.
Maryland proceeded to whittle its deficit to 55-54, but the Hoyas would not relent. After Peak made two free throws, Isaac Copeland made a layup and a 3-pointer for a 61-54 advantage with 5:41 to go.
The Terrapins peeled off the next seven points to pull even and set the stage for the dramatic finish.
There were four ties and six lead changes in a first half that ended tied at 33.
Georgetown: Trey Mourning, son of former Georgetown great Alonzo Mourning, missed his only shot in four minutes. … The Hoyas got only three points from their reserves, all from Jessie Govan, who fouled out.
Maryland: Center Diamond Stone was not factor. The 6-foot-11 freshman didn’t get a rebound in the first half and finished with five points and one rebound in 14 minutes. … Maryland leads the series 37-27. … Former Terp Greivis Vazquez showed up after playing earlier in the evening for the Milwaukee Bucks, who faced the Wizards in Washington.
THUMBS UP ON RIVALRY
The Terrapins welcomed back Joe Smith, who starred in Maryland’s overtime win over Georgetown in 1993. Before the game Smith said of the matchup: “It’s big for both schools and it’s big for the city. It’s big for the University of Maryland, it’s big for the University of Georgetown. And of course, it’s big for the players, whoever gets bragging rights.”
Georgetown: The Hoyas face another Big Ten foe, Wisconsin, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in the 2K Classic.
Maryland: The Terrapins close out a three-game run at home Friday night against Rider.