Ahead of their anticipated road matchup with Wisconsin on Saturday, the Terps took care of business against a shorthanded Rutgers team Wednesday evening, cruising to a 88-63 victory. Maryland got a big contribution from senior Jake Layman, who before tonight had been rather average. Layman used his size advantage to post up and shoot over helpless defenders to the tune of 18 points and three 3 pointers. Fellow veteran Rasheed Sulaimon continued his streak of good games by adding 15 points and 5 rebounds of his own. Diamond Stone, who was rewarded with a start, notched another double-double, as he scored 15 and pulled down 10 boards.
With Melo Trimble suffering a minor hamstring injury (sat out the entire second half) and the game comfortably in hand, Coach Turgeon emptied his bench with a total of 9 reserves playing. Maryland’s size dictated the lopsided victory, as the big men imposed their will. For most of the night, Rutgers played only 7 players, and that was because the big men were in foul trouble. In the first half, Rutgers struggled mightily with Maryland’s length, scoring only 18 points. The Scarlet Knights were able to outscore the Terps in the second half when they were able to get easier buckets in transition. But the damage had already been done.
– Jake Layman adds a crucial element to this team
Although the competition was not exactly top flight, Layman showed the damage he can do when hitting shots and playing very good defense. Layman hasn’t been bad this season, but he hasn’t made the large impact that was expected of him. A lot of that can be attributed to the fact that he is playing more small forward this season with the eligibility of Robert Carter. Layman has the ability to play the important role swiss army knife that puts opponents in a tough spot.
– The zone offense looked smooth
There was a point late in the first half when Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan employed a zone to keep any more of his players from getting in foul trouble. Against the zone, the Terps moved the ball well even though some scoring opportunities were a bit harder to convert than expected. Its crucial that Maryland is able to handle zone defense, and it looks like Turgeon has them prepared.
-Three pointers still an issue
I’m starting to sound like a broken record with this, but Maryland’s early season percentage from deep seems to be a bit inflated. Against Rutgers, the team shot 32%, a dip below their season percentage of 38.7 %. In Big 10 play, the Terps have only shot a meager 31.2%, which ranks 12th in the conference. They get open looks, but the shots just don’t consistently go in. We’ll keep an eye on this .
-Diamond Stone is letting the game come to him
Stone is a willing learner and an unselfish teammate, so it’s not at all surprising to see him operating under control. As an analyst pointed out, Stone played within the offense instead of forcing the issue the game after his after 39 point scoring outburst. That shows his team-first attitude. Against Rutgers, Stone showed more growth in recovery defense and added double-double numbers.
– Melo Trimble’s injuries aren’t serious, but should be of concern
While Coach Turgeon isn’t concerned about Trimble’s recent hamstring tightness, you have to wonder if all these bumps and bruises will lead to a more serious injury. Earlier this season, Trimble some back muscle problems, which caused him some visible pain. The silver lining is that the other Terps players learn to step up without their best player on the floor. Maryland’s championship aspirations rest on the health of Trimble, so it would be of utmost importance to keep him healthy.
The Terps next opponent is Wisconsin. The game will be played on Saturday in the Kohl Center, a tough venue to play in, at 1:00 P.M. on ESPN.