Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Guard Jaylen Brantley coasted down the court with under six minutes to go in regulation. Once he crossed the timeline, he launched the ball toward the basket. Forward Jake Layman was there to complete the alley-oop dunk and extend the Maryland Terrapins’ lead to 20.
On a night where the Terps debuted their long awaited basketball team stocked with new faces, Layman, their longest tenured player, shined en route to a 80-56 win over the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers.
“[Layman is] just very comfortable,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “He’s comfortable in the system, he’s comfortable playing in games. He’s been through it all, he’s seen it all and he’s very relaxed.”
Tying for a team-high 29 minutes played, Layman led Maryland in scoring with 16 points on 7-10 shooting. He was 2-4 from three, grabbed five rebounds and did not commit a turnover.
Layman’s first score came early. 119 seconds into the game, center Diamond Stone swung the ball from the perimeter to a driving Layman on the baseline. The senior slammed it down.
Nearly ten minutes later, Layman stole the ball around half-court before sending a lateral pass to guard Jared Nickens, who flipped it back to Layman. Layman earned the points off his forced turnover with a right-handed dunk that ignited the crowd’s excitement.
On the next possession, the Terps earned their largest lead of the first half as Stone converted two free throws to make it 30-14.
But the Mountaineers put up a fight, coming within six points in the final two minutes of the first half. Maryland took a 43-32 lead into the intermission. At the half, Layman was the only player in double figures for either team with 11 points.
The Terps took care of business in the second half, outscoring the Mountaineers 37-24.
Five Terps finished with double figures; Layman led with 16, point guard Melo Trimble scored 14, Nickens posted 11, while Stone and forward Robert Carter Jr. each had 10.
Seven of 10 players dished out assists. Everyone but guard Varun Ram, who only appeared in the game for three minutes, earned a rebound.
Trimble said the new talent opens up more opportunities for Layman to score.
“Since we have a post presence, a lot of teams are going to key in on me and [guard] Rasheed [Sulaimon] and even [Nickens],” Trimble said. “I think Jake will get a lot of wide open shots because we can drive to the rim and kick it out.”
Trimble and Sulaimon combined for seven assists, one of which came late in the first half, when the transfer guard from Duke found Layman for the last three points of the half.
Carter Jr., who transferred from Georgia Tech and sat out last season due to eligibility rules, snatched seven boards in addition to his double-digit point total.
“I think me and [Carter Jr.] are kind of the leaders on this team, and [Sulaimon] too,” Layman said. “We all have experience, it’s good to have that.”
Turgeon said that tonight Layman fit the mold of an upperclassman.
“It’s good to see and I’m happy for him,” Turgeon said. “He seems very comfortable and seniors should. He is playing like a senior.”
It seemed as though Layman remained at ease throughout the night.
When he clicked with his former AAU teammate Brantley for the alley-oop to give the Terps a 71-51 lead, he couldn’t help but celebrate.
“It’s finally nice to have someone that’s not scared to throw a lob like Melo is,” Layman said. “It was nice to be able to get out and run and for him to throw a perfect pass to me.”
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