Dec 13, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) celebrates after making a three pointer in the second half against the South Carolina Upstate Spartans at Xfinity Center. The Terrapins won 67-57. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
With Saturday’s win over USC Upstate, the Maryland Terrapins improved to 10-1 on the season, despite some early adversity. USC Upstate gave the Terps one of their toughest tests of the young season. The Spartans even led Maryland at points in the second half. However, with the victory, Maryland joins Kentucky as the only teams in Division I with 10 wins. Here’s some takeaways from Maryland’s win.
- We’re seeing a different Jake Layman – In his first two seasons at Maryland, forward Jake Layman didn’t quite make the adjustments he needed to within games. If his shots weren’t falling, he’d try to force bad shots up in order to break out of a slump. Early in the 2014-15 campaign, Layman is altering his game as it becomes necessary. In Saturday’s win, the Massachusetts native scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half, including a nice, cutting dunk that capped a 10-2 Terps run and ultimately gave Maryland the victory. Layman put up a baseline two-point jumper that didn’t fall. However, the play wasn’t over there as guard Richaud Pack managed to run down the defensive rebound and found a cutting Layman for the jam. The impressive part of the score was the fact that Layman stayed involved in the play and called for the pass from Pack. Layman connected on 6-of-10 of his second half shots, including six of his last seven attempts.
- What can’t Melo Trimble do? – Freshman guard Melo Trimble only scored 14 points on Saturday, but it was another area on the box score that was impressive. Trimble grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds against the Spartans. With his ability to impact the game at the offensive end, the Bishop O’Connell graduate’s rebounding prowess is something remarkable. Trimble isn’t a small guard by any means, so his rebounding ability doesn’t have as a huge surprise. However, being able to being 12 boards (all on the defensive end) is huge for a team that has received inconsistent play on the interior.
- Return to form for Evan Smotrycz – With guard Dez Wells expected to miss another two weeks, getting forward Evan Smotrycz back is a huge plus. On Saturday, Smotrycz showed that he’s slowly but surely returning to old form as he scored 10 points (4-of-6) and grabbed six rebounds. The former Michigan Wolverine displayed all of the different facets of the game that make him so dangerous. Smotrycz put his back to the basket, and was able to rebound the basketball at a decent rate (even grabbing his own miss shortly after entering the game). He also was able to put the ball on the floor as well as connected on a three-pointer. The senior forward did all of this over the course of 18 minutes, proving that he’s close to being durable for the Terps. Considering Maryland is shooting an above-average clip from beyond the arc (37.4 percent), the return of Smotrycz is a huge boost on the offensive end at the very least.
- Maryland can battle through adversity – Aside from the Monmouth game, the Terps haven’t had to deal with too much adversity through 11 games so far. However, Saturday’s 11 a.m. affair proved to be quite the challenge. Maryland seemed to be forcing shots as they only drilled two out of 17 attempts from beyond the arc in the first half. One of the few things that Mark Turgeon’s group did do effectively was guard their opponent. Defense can always play a big part even when the shots aren’t falling, so seeing that was huge. Maryland could’ve been trailing by a whole lot more than four points at the break, but battled through a terrible offensive half. This aspect of the team is going to be very crucial if they find themselves trailing in some conference games later in the season.