Maryland in top form vs. Rhode Island in Cancun Challenge win

Maryland shot 60 percent against Rhode Island in a runaway victory. (USATSI)

Maryland showed up with its most impressive performance of the season in a 86-63 win against Rhode Island in the championship of the Cancun Challenge to claim the school’s third straight early season tournament championship.

Before the game, Mark Turgeon said the matchup with Rhode Island would be a little more “conventional” in comparison to Illinois State, who created some problems with its unique defensive pressure in the Terps’ 66-60 win. The Rams are a good defensive team in their own right, but are still lacking in firepower when faced with a team as hot as Maryland was on Wednesday night.

The Terps shot 60 percent from the field, including 8-of-15 from long range. But while the team stats are great, it might downplay the impact of three particular individuals: Melo Trimble, Robert Carter and Rasheed Sulaimon.

Terps Trio Dominates Rhode Island
Name FGM-FGA Points Rebounds Assists
Melo Trimble 7-7 17 6 6
Robert Carter Jr. 7-10 18 9 3
Rasheed Sulaimon 6-7 17 2 4

Combined, the trio had 52 of the Maryland’s 86 points and shot 83 percent from the field.

“We were dialed in tonight,” Mark Turgeon told CBS Sports’ Doug Gottlieb after the game. “I thought defensively starting the game we were good. Our execution was good, we made shots tonight. It makes it look better when you make shots.”

When looking at Maryland’s No. 2 ranking in the polls, it feels like that considers what the Terps can be rather than what we’ve seen on the court in the last three games. Trimble, Carter and Sulaimon won’t shoot a combined 83 percent on most nights, but getting two of those three players in top form will be enough on most nights.

Maryland in top form is scary good, and absolutely worthy of a No. 2 ranking. After only getting the best version of Maryland in doses so far this season, fans saw a performance that highlights the reasons this team can be a national title contender.

After playing Cleveland State, Maryland will step onto the floor with another potential title contender, North Carolina, in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge next Wednesday.


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