Maryland has won three straight early season tournaments. Thanks to Melo Tremble, that streak is now at four.
A layup by the junior guard with 6.6 seconds left and a subsequent missed desperation shot by Kansas State’s Barry Brown gave Maryland a thrilling 69-68 victory Saturday night in the championship game of the Barclays Center Classic. Melo Tremble was named MVP of the Tournament.
“Just don’t settle,” Trimble said. “I’ve been in that situation since I’ve been at Maryland. I just know the best decision when the game’s going like that is to just go to the basket.”
Trimble scored nine of Maryland’s last 11 points to finish with 18 points. Junior center Michal Cekovsky added a career-high 16 and was instrumental in the second half.
Kansas State (5-1) was led by DJ Johnson with a career-high 26 points. He was joined in double-figures by Wesley Iwundy with 16 points, Barry Brown with 13 and Kamau Stokes with 11.
DJ Johnson had a chance to seal it for Kansas State but missed the put-back attempt of Brown’s 3-pointer, and with 44 seconds left he turned the ball over. Trimble drove by Johnson for a layup to make it 68-67.
“Obviously it was a heartbreaking loss for us,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “We played with a lot of heart and determination in the second half.”
The teams were evenly matched early in the first half. The score was tied at 18-18 with 8:40 left, but the Terrapins went on a 12-4 run to grab a 30-22 lead with 2:05 left. The Wildcats were only able to chip two points off the lead by halftime, which ended with Maryland up 35-29.
But Kansas State fought back, taking the lead with less than five minutes to go in the game, making a number of contested shots. They held a slight lead for much of the final few minutes.
But as the Terps have done time and time again, they pulled a win out in the final seconds.
Of all the games played during the Thanksgiving holiday, this one was the most competitive and exciting game to watch. Fitting it was the last game of the holiday weekend.