No one exactly expected Maryland to struggle against Division III Catholic University Sunday in their season-opening exhibition matchup, but the manner by which the Terrapins dominated the game has to be encouraging. The Terrapins won, 84-39.
Mark Turgeon threw out the gigantic starting lineup we all expected, with Dez Wells manning the point, Nick Faust at shooting guard, Jake Layman at small forward, Evan Smotrycz at power forward and Shaquille Cleare at center.
The Terps got out to a slow start, with four turnovers on their first six possessions. Things turned around quickly when Jake Layman got hot, as the small forward hit three straight three pointers to send the Terps on a run. Maryland only committed two more turnovers in the half, and entered the break leading 44-19. At the half, Layman had 13 points, while Charles Mitchell had ten rebounds in just 12 minutes.
Layman added another to his highlight reel in the second half, as he was on the receiving end of a breakaway alley oop from Dez Wells -- the point guard's first assist of the game.
Maryland performed even better in the second half, as the defense locked down the Cardinals and the offense seemed to roam free.
Layman ended up with a game-high 23 points, hitting five of his seven three-point attempts. Mitchell posted the game's only double-double, with ten points and 11 rebounds. Nick Faust scored 14, making three of eight three point attempts, while Evan Smotrycz scored 11, with seven rebounds and four assists. Running the point, Wells scored seven, with four rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and two steals. Shaq Cleare had two points and four rebounds in 20 minutes of play.
The two freshman showed off their supreme talent -- Roddy Peters scored seven and had two assists, and Damonte Dodd had four points, eight rebounds and two blocks against his considerably undersized competition.
In terms of the two main concerns -- turnovers and interior defense -- Maryland did pretty well. The Terps outrebounded Catholic 50-22, and had nearly as many offensive rebounds (17) as the Cardinals had total rebounds. Turnovers was again an issue, as the Terps gave the ball away 14 times -- still two less than the Cardinals.
It's hard to take too much away from an exhibition against a Division III school, but Maryland can't be too unhappy with the performance Sunday afternoon. Jake Layman looks again like the breakout star everyone has been hoping for, and even without Seth Allen the Terps have a balanced offense ready to take on UConn Friday.