Maryland easily handled an overmatched Wagner team in a season-opening 82-48 win over Wagner at XFINITY Center on Friday night.
Dez Wells sprained his left ankle near the end of the first half but returned to the game in the second. Otherwise, things went smoothly for Mark Turgeon's team, which had a 10-point lead 10 minutes into the game and never saw it get any smaller than that.
Jake Layman led the way for Maryland, scoring 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and pulling down 9 rebounds. Wells, despite his injury scare, finished with 18 points and 3 rebounds. Melo Trimble got into double-figures in his collegiate debut, scoring 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting.
Wagner, of college basketball's Northeast Conference, never shot well enough to give itself a chance at an upset. The Seahawks finished the game shooting 27 percent from the field and 13 percent from three-point range. Maryland shot an excellent 55 percent overall and was 50 percent from deep on 14 tries.
Maryland's quartet of freshmen – Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens and Michal Cekovsky – put forth mostly strong first impressions. They all had nice moments; Trimble, Nickens and Wiley all hit three-pointers in their inaugural collegiate games, while Cekovsky scored his first career points on an and-one dunk.
Trimble had sort of an odd night, not winding up with any assists and getting in a hint of foul trouble. He finished with 13 points on 3-of-8 shooting and made 5 of 6 free throws. He had no assists.
The Terrapins' full box score:
Three things we learned
1. Richaud Pack is going to be essential. Since he transferred to Maryland in the offseason, Maryland had hoped Pack would provide shooting and versatility in a young backcourt that lost three players (Seth Allen, Nick Faust and Roddy Peters) to transfer after last season. The going will get a lot tougher as Maryland faces better competition, but Pack's effort on Friday was uniformly encouraging for the Terps. He played a good bit of point guard when Trimble took a seat. He looked comfortable carrying the ball up the court against the press and running the half-court offense. Those are important things. So is shooting, and Pack doesn't look to have lost the stroke that brought him to College Park in the first place. Along with his 6 rebounds Pack hit a couple of early threes and finished 8 points on 4 field goal attempts.
2. Maryland will make a lot of three-pointers this year. A lot of things are unknowable after early-season tune-ups against bad opponents. Maryland won't know how good it is defensively, for instance, until it faces a team that shoots at a varsity level (it still hasn't). But Maryland's small and speedy rotation will mean a lot of shifting shooters and perimeter passing this year, the kind of combination that creates good looks from beyond the arc. That was on display with the Terps' 7-of-14 shooting night from deep, and it should continue to a good degree even as they face stingier defenses.
3. Jake Layman has added a lot to his game. Layman has always been an annual breakout pick because of his length and athleticism. He's never been one-dimensional, because he's always been able to shoot and contest shots near and away from the hoop.This year, though, Turgeon needs him to play a lot of power forward, perhaps even more than he needs him at his usual third spot in the Maryland lineup. Layman was Turgeon's unusual pick to leap for the game's opening tip, and he secured the ball against Wagner's Greg Senat. Even though Senat plays as more of a traditional big man than Layman, he's an inch shorter than the Terps' junior, which gets to a disclaimer: Even at power forward, Layman will face a lot of smallish and less athletic bigs during Maryland's non-conference slate. Things will get harder for him at that position. But his work tonight was terrific for what it was: a high-point, high-rebound, high-assist showing, where he successfully contested post shots on defense while scoring and facilitating on offense. Turgeon has spoken highly of Layman's defensive strides forward over the offseason, claiming he trusts him to defend any position on the floor. To that end, for Layman, Friday was a fine start.