Maryland hosts Pitt in 2016 ACC-Big Ten Challenge on Tuesday

November 29, 2016 | WNST Staff


COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The Maryland men’s basketball team hosts Pitt in the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday at 7 p.m. at XFINIY Center.

• Maryland’s 7-0 record matches the best start under Mark Turgeon, who also led his 2014-15 team to a 7-0 record to begin the season. Maryland last opened a regular season with 8-0 record in 2006-07. Turgeon and Pitt head coach Kevin Stallings previously served as assistant coaches at Kansas.

• Junior guard Melo Trimble earned the Barclays Center Classic Most Valuable Player after averaging 24.5 points and connecting on 16-of-31 field goal attempts in wins over Richmond and Kansas State. Against the Spiders, Trimble matched his career-high with 31 points on 10-of-20 (50 %) from the field. He poured in 21 second-half points and helped the Terps rally from a 14-point deficit to defeat the Spiders 88-82 in overtime. Trimble finished with a team-high 18 points and drove through the lane connecting on a game-winning layup with 6.6 seconds left to lift Maryland to a 69-68 win over Kansas State.

• In his three seasons in College Park, Trimble has earned tournament Most Valuable Player honors in each of his three holiday tournaments: CBE Classic (2014), Cancun Challenge (2015) and Barclays Classic (2016). He is 25-5 (5-0 in 2016-17) in games decided by six points or less. Under Mark Turgeon, Maryland has captured four consecutive holiday tournaments: (Paradise Jam in 2013, CBE Classic in 2014, Cancun Challenge in 2015 and Barclays Classic in 2016).

• Freshman forward Justin Jackson was named to the Barclays All-Tournament team after averaging 13.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game in wins over Richmond and Kansas State. Jackson had 16 points and seven rounds in the overtime win over the Spiders and followed with 11 points and a career-best four blocks in the win over the Wildcats.

• Maryland’s bench outscored Kansas State 22-2 in large part to junior Michal Cekovsky’s career-high 16 points. In just 18 minutes, Cekovsky connected on 7-of-11 field goal attempts and tied his career-high with eight rebounds. Cekovsky missed the first four games with a right foot sprain before making his regular season debut with 11 points in a 77-63 win over Stony Brook (11/22).

• In its first six games, Maryland averaged 14.2 turnovers per contest but vastly improved in its win over Kansas State with just eight turnovers. Freshman guard Anthony Cowan led the Terps with six assists and did not have a turnover in 35 minutes.

• Maryland is tied for the third-most wins all-time in the Challenge, collecting 10 victories since its inception in 1999. Maryland and Pitt have met nine previous times, with the Terps owning a 5-4 edge in the all-time series. The Terps last met the Panthers on Jan. 25, 2014 in an 83-79 loss at XFINITY Center – the lone season both programs were members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

• Maryland fell to then-No. 9 and national runner-up North Carolina, 89-81, on Dec. 2, 2015 in last season’s ACC/B1G Challenge in Chapel Hill. Melo Trimble recorded a double-double with 23 points and a career-high 12 assists.

• The Big Ten captured the Commissioner’s Cup last season, winning eight of the 14 matchups. The Big Ten has captured two straight challenge titles and has won or tied the last seven.