Maryland’s Melo Trimble slammed his hand hard on the court under Kansas’ basket.
With about five minutes remaining, KU’s Frank Mason had just picked Tremble for a steal near midcourt and fired a pass to teammate Wayne Selden. All Trimble could do was foul hard enough to make sure Selden didn’t get the easy layup.
A little too late. It was all too late for Trimble. It was all too late for Maryland.
KU was already up by 13 points on the way to a 79-63 victory in Thursday night’s Sweet 16 at the KFC Yum Center.
Onward Jayhawks. The NCAA Tournament’s overall top seed is headed to play Villanova is Saturday’s Elite Eight.
Mark Turgeon knows how that works. The former KU point guard and assistant coach from the 1980s knows about winning teams.
Turgeon, who later took Wichita State to the Sweet 16, knows how this works.
“Hot teams win,” he said. “And Kansas is playing terrific. They were terrific tonight.
“They’re just crushing people. In the end, it looks like they crushed us, though I’m not sure it was as bad as the score. But they’re good.”
The Terps, a No. 5 seed who finished in a three-way tie for third in the Big Ten, thought they had something going. They were having their best season in 13 years – the last time they were in the Sweet 16.
And Maryland was down only two points at halftime to KU.
“Down by two, had the ball to start the half,” Trimble said. “I thought we had the momentum.”
Instead the Terps (27-8) began to fade. They missed shots. Trimble missed shots. Then they missed four straight three throws.
“We got good looks and missed those early shots,” Turgeon said. “And then missing those free throws.”
Trimble said the Jayhawks started going inside more in the second half.
“They took control of the game,” he said.
Turgeon now stands 0-7 against his former school – six of those losses coming when he was coaching Texas A&M.
“It doesn’t hurt any worse because it was Kansas,” Turgeon said. “It just hurts.”
Even when Maryland knew what KU could do, the Terps struggled. Take Perry Elllis, KU’s splendid senior who scored 27 points on 10-of-17 shooting and a perfect 7-of-7 at the free-throw line.
“We knew he was driving right,” Turgeon said, “and we still couldn’t stop him. He’s hard to guard.”
For Trimble, the night was punctuated another poor shooting performance for the sophomore point guard.
“I had three open looks and didn’t make any of them,” he said. “Kansas didn’t do anything special. It was me. I’m supposed to make those shots.”
He made 5 of 16 shots, including 1 of 7 three-pointers. That left him 7 of 33 shooting over his last four games of the season, pushing his accuracy even further away from the standout shooting season he had shown last year as a freshman.
“I just missed,” he said. “That’s all there is to it. I feel bad, I feel bad for the guys who won’t be here next year. But we still had a good season. We were in the Sweet 16, something none of these guys have done before.”