A season-high scoring mark for senior Jake Layman, a career performance from transfer Jaylen Brantley and a dominant performance in limited minutes from freshman Diamond Stone lifted the Terps to a 82-61 victory over Princeton.
In Maryland's first game in Baltimore since 1999, it proved worthy of its No. 6 ranking with well-rounded play against a solid mid-major opponent. Layman scored 19 points on 11 field goal attempts, bringing a new energy to the Terrapins already visible court demeanor. Stone added 11 points and 6 rebounds in only 19 minutes, and a stand-out performance from Brantley, who doubled his previous high with 14 points, was the highlight of the second half.
Maryland got off to a slow start once again. Poor defense around the 3-point line and stellar play from the Tigers' leading scorer, Henry Caruso, kept Princeton in the game early. Caruso went perfect on three deep-ball tries, grabbed a pair of steals, a block and three rebounds to add to his stat-stuffed first half box score, which was led with his 11 points. He finished with 17. Missed assignments kept the guard open in the opening minutes.
Layman and Stone kept a lackadaisical Terrapins defense in play, scoring 18 of the 35 first half points combined and grabbing 9 of the team's 19 boards.
The 6'9 wing broke his wavering confidence from behind the arc, hitting two of his first four 3-point attempts, nailing a third before the end of the half. Princeton's early zone left the recently struggling shooter completely open to take shots he couldn't refuse.
Stone showed some extension on a mid-range shot and was located on the interior for two emphatic dunks. He hauled down 4 rebounds to go along with his six points in 10 minutes off the bench.
Robert Carter Jr., Maryland's second leading scorer on the season, broke loose in the second half, connecting on four consecutive 2-point attempts, driving to the hoop, floating in the lane and scoring over Princeton defenders.
Princeton kept up with the Terps for most of the first half. A Jared Nickens 3-pointer tied the game at 27 with four minutes left in the first half. Melo Trimble scored the next five points, and Maryland never trailed again. Seven assists on their opening 9 made field goals helped drive the Terps over the hump.
Melo Trimble struggled to put points on the board, but was again able to get his teammates in motion. He finished with 10 assists in total, raising his already improved average of 5.3. His team-leading 3 steals contributed to 16 Terrapins points off turnovers.
Maryland gets another extended break during the holiday season, and will head back to Xfinity Center to host Marshall on Sunday Dec. 27.
Three things to know
1. Jake Layman wasn't afraid to let loose early. Layman scored 6 of the Terrapins' first 13 points and hit two of four 3-point attempts. He lead Maryland in first half field goal attempts with seven, and six of those were from deep, tying his season high in attempts in his opening 15 minutes of play.
2. Maryland's front court took scoring pressure off its guards. Stone, Carter and Layman combined for 42 points, while Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon and Jared Nickens were held to 24. The good parts of the Terrapins' depth shone through for the first time in weeks.
3. Jaylen Brantley came to life in the second half. He proved his hype on the court as the junior college transfer with a career-high 14 points including two made 3-point attempts on 4 of 5 shooting for the game. He scored seven consecutive points to put Maryland safely in the driver's seat, up by 21. Coach Mark Turgeon has often talked about building confidence in the young guard as he will serve backup to Trimble as the season wears on, and it took a trip to Baltimore for it to all set in.