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Trimble scores 24 points as Maryland holds off Monmouth 61-56

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COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Maryland got its first glimpse of playing without leading scorer Dez Wells, and the Terrapins learned quickly that his absence could be a huge void to fill.

Wells will be sidelined for at least four weeks because of a broken bone in his right wrist. In the meantime, Maryland is going to have to find other players to pick up the scoring.

A lot of that responsibility will fall on freshman Melo Trimble, who scored 24 points and the Terrapins extended their winning streak to six games by holding off Monmouth 61-56 on Friday night.

Jake Layman had 14 points for Maryland (6-0), which shot just 17 of 45 (37.8 percent) from the field.

"I give Monmouth a lot of credit," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "I thought they had a great game plan and really defended. They had a lot of energy. I was proud of our guys. We were out of sync offensively, but we guarded."

The Terps did get a boost with the return of Evan Smotrycz, who missed the early part of the season with a broken left foot. Smotrycz played 22 minutes and finished with four points and six rebounds.

Max DiLeo and Deon Jones each had 11 points for Monmouth (2-3).

The Terps had some struggles against the Hawks' zone defense, but never relinquished the lead.

Jones made an acrobatic layup and Monmouth trailed just 36-30 with 16:28 left in the game. Maryland struggled to make close-range shots and the Hawks closed the gap to 39-36 on a dunk by Brice Kofane with 10:48 left.

A pair of free throws by Layman and a 3-pointer by Jared Nickens finally provided some cushion and Maryland led 50-40 with 4:53 remaining.

"I think offensively we were not really moving the ball around," Layman said. "We got caught standing a lot and that hurt us. We were lucky we hit some big shots."

PHOTO: Maryland forward Evan Smotrycz, left, keeps the ball away from Monmouth guard Andrew Nicholas in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland forward Evan Smotrycz, left, keeps the ball away from Monmouth guard Andrew Nicholas in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

The Hawks, though, stayed within striking distance and a pair of free throws by Justin Robinson and a putback by Kofane got Monmouth back to 53-48 with 1:24 left.

A 3-pointer by Andrew Nicholas with just under a minute cut the margin to 53-51. After Trimble made a pair of free throws, DiLeo answered with another 3-pointer and Monmouth trailed 55-54.

Trimble then made six free throws in the final minute to finally seal the game for Maryland.

"I'm sick for Dez Wells because he's one of the best players in the country," Monmouth coach King Rice said. "Now he's down, and those kids rallied tonight. Hopefully, we scared them enough to let them understand they got a lot of work to do, too. But I think that's a very good Maryland team."

TIP-INS

Maryland: The Terps are riding high, especially after winning the CBE Classic championship earlier in the week by knocking off No.13 Iowa State. Maryland is 6-0 and off to its best start since 2006-2007.

Monmouth: The Hawks are 2-2 in their toughest stretch of the season, where they are playing five games in nine days.

FAB FRESHMAN

Melo Trimble is one of Maryland's most prized recruits and he has delivered each game. The freshman is averaging 16 points and has been one of the team's most clutch shooters late in the game. Trimble will likely be asked to play an even bigger role on offense while Dez Wells recovers from a fractured right wrist.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts VMI on Sunday before taking on No. 8 Virginia in the ACC/Big 10 Challenge.

Monmouth travels to SMU on Sunday.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Maryland's Michal Cekovsky, (15), of Slovakia, and Dion Wiley, second from right, reach for a rebound against Monmouth guard Collin Stewart (30) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Friday, Nov. 28, 2014, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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