AP, ESPN, coaches: Take notice. The Maryland Terrapins should finally be on your radar as a team to watch.
The Terrapins opened up conference play with a big statement win over Virginia Tech 94-71, showing off both depth and versatility. With NBA scouts aplenty in the stadium to see Alex Len, Dez Wells, and other potential pro players, the game was dominated by, of all players, the freshmen on the team.
Led by Jake Layman’s 20 first half points, the Terrapins took a 53-37 first half lead and never looked back. Layman, who was a surprise starter in place of Nick Faust, could do no wrong in the first half. He connected from long range, converted dunks, and played stingy defense all night. He also had eight rebounds, three assists, and a couple of blocks.
Layman wasn’t the only freshman who impressed tonight, as Seth Allen was just as crucial to the win. Allen came off the bench to provide a career high 21 points and four rebounds. His shot from long range was connecting all game, and his pacing and smart play kept the turnovers low for the team. If the first half was all Layman, the second half was all Allen. His electrifying drives to the basket kept the crowd on their feet until the final minute. Most of his scoring, in fact, came in the second half.
Virginia Tech’s Erick Green must have felt like an island tonight, as his 28 points proved to be a mere drop in the bucket against the Terrapins. He received very little help from his teammates, who air balled more them a few shots. Other than Green, no other Tech player had more than 11 points. Joey Van Zegeren had ten, and Robert Brown finished with 11.
Tech simply couldn’t hit their shots (37% from the field), and couldn’t stop anything the Terrains threw at them. The effort was there defensively, but there were just too many weapons on offense. They also couldn’t connect from deep, finishing just 4-of-19 from three.
Alex Len and Dez Wells, and Charles Mitchell, the usual stars for the Terps, didn’t play poorly, though they were overshadowed. Len had 16 points and 9 rebounds, Wells had 12 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, while Mitchell had 8 points and 5 rebounds.
Next up, Maryland takes on Florida State on the 9th, another team that has struggled as of late as they hope to further improve their resume and prepare for North Carolina State.