October 15, 2019

Maryland Basketball: Terps get back on track against St. Francis after first loss of the season

In arguably what was the Maryland Terrapins best shooting performance of the season against UNC, they looked to minimize the turnovers and up the defense going forward. For the first time all year, the Terps controlled things from coast-to-coast with a convincing victory over St. Francis (PA), 96-55.

Terps get off to best start of the season against mid-major opponent

For much of the season, Maryland has not been playing like the second-best team in the country. They have not consistently blown mid-major teams out of the water — as is expected of them. Things were quite different Friday night as the Terps got off to a fast start and kept their foot on the peddle. It was clear that Mark Turgeon was looking to get Jake Layman going offensively with a designed play just for him to open the game. Layman converted on a drive to the basket to start and hit two 3-pointers to get Maryland off to a 16-3 run.

First half dominance on both sides of the court

Maryland shot 68.2 percent (15 of 22) from the floor and got to the free throw line 12 times. That led to a 45-point burst in the first half where Melo Trimble did not even have to score. Diamond Stone continued to thrive against smaller defenders — and seemingly in his role off the bench — where he was 4 of 5 from the field, including a breakaway Eurostep move. Defensively, the Terps probably made newly-appointed head football coach DJ Durkin, who was introduced to the fans at Xfinity during the game, proud as they held the Red Flash to under 30 percent shooting.

Confidence boosting game for senior Jake Layman

(Photo by: CSN Mid-Atlantic)

(Photo by: CSN Mid-Atlantic)

Since the season opener, Layman has failed to get into an extended groove for the Terps. In the past five games, the senior forward is shooting 13 of 34 (38.2 percent) and 4 of 18 from beyond the arc (22.2 percent). All of that changed Friday when Layman hit his first five shots of the game — including four from beyond the arc. More importantly, the Massachusetts native just looked more relaxed,  and trying not to force the issue too much. Layman finished with 16 points and chipped in with three blocks as well.

Sharing is indeed caring for the Terps — in more ways than one

Maryland put their turnover woes from UNC behind them by only committing 10 miscues over the course of the game. Moreover, the Terps were sharing the ball extremely well with 22 assists. The fascinating part was the big-to-big passing from Robert Carter, as the leading scorer also finished with six assists. On a team that is loaded with talent, that kind of passing potential out of double-teams for easy baskets will likely keep up.

Turgeon able to rest stars for extended minutes

Including extended rests throughout the game, Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon, one of the best backcourt tandems in the country, were able to sit for the final six minutes of action. Robert Carter Jr. join them not long after. Nobody played more than 30 minutes for the Terps as Turgeon was also able to get Ivan Bender his first minutes for the Terps after he served a six-game suspension to start the season. It’s games like these that Turgeon can limit the wear and tear on his players bodies come March, as well as give Jaylen Brantley much needed experience in the flow of the game.

NEXT: Maryland will take on the Connecticut Huskies at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 8 at 9:30 p.m. as part of the Jimmy V Classic.

About Neil Dalal

Neil Dalal is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Redskins, Wizards, and Maryland Terrapins. Neil grew up in Silver Spring, MD and attends the University of Maryland. Neil has loved everything related to the Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, and Terrapins since he was eight years old. However, he favors the Orioles, as he started watching baseball before the Expos moved to DC. You can follow Neil on Twitter @NeilDalal96.

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