Maryland Basketball: Terps make statement against Rutgers

Jan 6, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) is defended by Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Omari Grier (31) at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 6, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) is defended by Rutgers Scarlet Knights guard Omari Grier (31) at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports /

After a mixed bag through the first two games of Big Ten play, the Maryland men’s basketball team made a statement in an 88-63 win over Rutgers on Wednesday

The Terrapins had four of their five starters score in double figures. Forward Jake Layman was extremely productive to the tune of 18 points (5-of-10 shooting), four rebounds, and a pair of blocks.

It was the first time that Layman scored in double figures since Maryland beat Princeton on Dec. 19.

“He’s trying to himself going,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “He’s getting to the foul line and doing some different things. He’s a smart kid. His activity on defense has been tremendous. He’s playing like a senior.”

It was also the first time in eight games that center Diamond Stone was in the starting lineup. Stone ended up adding 15 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes for the Terps.

“No matter how small they were, I wanted to stay big to get minutes,” Turgeon added. “We actually practice that every day. We have our big guys chasing around guards with switch ball screens hand-offs. We wanted to reward our guys for playing hard.”

Maryland would begin this game just running and pushing the ball inside. A slow 1-of-6 start from three-point range was overshadowed by the 13-7 lead the Terps developed in the first five minutes of the game.

Guard Rasheed Sulaimon built off his 16-point effort against Northwestern by starting off the game very well. Sulaimon connected on his first three shots as he scored seven of Maryland’s first nine points.

“I feel like as a team we’re getting in a really good rhythm,” Sulaimon said. “In practice, we’re flowing in our offense and the trust we’re starting to gain in everyone is just getting better. It just felt good. Melo (Trimble) hit me on the first three and the second one I got an and-one. It just gets your confidence up.”

Rutgers only managed to score nine points in the first 11:27 of the game.

Many projected this game to go Maryland’s way, and by a large margin. Rutgers came into this game 6-9 with all of their losses coming to all of the marginally good teams they played. Rutgers runs an NBA styled offense and usually was found to pass the ball around, but not make a move until there was 12 seconds or less on the shot clock. This provided Maryland with chances for easy stops, using their height, and allowing them to run in transition.

With 13:58 remaining in the first half, Maryland started on a 10-run to extend the lead to 23-9.

“We have the capability to score in quick bursts like that at any point in the game,” Sulaimon stated. “When we’re not making shots, that’s part of basketball and that happens. No one is going to shoot to a high clip consistently. If we continue to trust on offense and execute, we’re going to shoot the ball at a high rate and the percentages will even out.”

The rest of the first half would just be the start of the end for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers was limited to just 11 points the the final 15 minutes of the half, leading to a 46-18 deficit at halftime.

In the second half, Maryland would begin to test out some things, including a 1-3-1 trap defense, which worked fairly well.

Guard Melo Trimble did not play in the second half due to a tight hamstring. Trimble came out five minutes into the game to get stretched, and returned for the half, but could not go for the second stanza.

Trimble only managed four points and a pair of assists in 14 minutes before bowing out. Turgeon reiterated that Trimble was fine after the game.

Maryland would end up letting some lead slip in the second half, but Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan placed that on Turgeon “knowing where [Rutgers] is” with their depleted roster due to injury.

As many expected, the Terps held a huge advantage in the rebounding battle. Maryland out-rebounded Rutgers 49-27 with every regular grabbing a rebound aside from Trimble.

“This could be a Final Four team,” Jordan said. “This could be a national championship team.”

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