Layman Leads Gutty Win Over Florida Atlantic

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Mark Turgeon said Jake Layman doesn't think about how big some of the shots he takes are in certain situations.



COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Mark Turgeon said Jake Layman doesn't think about how big some of the shots he takes are in certain situations.

Layman thought his coach was off the mark with that comment but fortunately for Turgeon and the Terrapins, Layman wasn't off when it meant the most. The lanky sophomore scored Maryland's last six points in a 66-62 non-conference win over Florida Atlantic Saturday afternoon at Comcast Center.

His tough, driving lay-up with 2:24 left pushed the Terrapins (7-4) ahead by six, and then his cold-blooded three at 35.9 seconds, decided matters.

"I knew it was a big situation, I knew it when I got the ball," said Layman of that layup. "I knew if I faked it, they were going to fly out at me so I said why not drive it. That last three, Nick (Faust) penetrated great and I knocked it down."

Layman finished with a game-high 22 points, hitting 8-of-14 shots and 4-of-7 behind the arc and over a pesky 2-3 Florida Atlantic zone that slowed the Terrapin offense much of the day. Or, was it the Terrapins who slowed themselves?

"We definitely started to settle, shooting jump-shots too much," said Layman of Maryland's .397 shooting, the third time in the last four games that Maryland has been below 40 percent.

"We had some open looks early in the shot clock that we missed," said Turgeon. "We also made some tough shots early over hands, so our guys continued to shoot them."

But the Terrapins were at times deadly efficient. They had 18 assists – five from freshman Roddy Peters who started for the second straight game – on 25 field goals. But Maryland did just enough things poorly – protecting the glass, rotating on defense, mishandling the ball – to let Florida Atlantic (3-8) hang around.

"We had a couple of stretches where we could have put it away but we missed (layups and free throws)," said Turgeon. "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well and we shot a little too quickly in the first half. With that said, we're coming off an emotional win, a game we had to win Thursday (at Boston College). We didn't have a lot of time to prep and our bench at the guard position wasn't as deep as I needed it to be. Out guys played a lot of minutes and it showed today."

Florida Atlantic moved the ball well, hit nine threes (in 22 attempts) and several times overcame double-digit deficits to make things tight.

Owls guard Pablo Bertone, on his way to 21 points, grabbed a Terrapins' turnover and got a three-point play in transition to make it a one-possession game at 62-59 with just 1:39 remaining. The Owls missed a layup in transition after another turnover and Maryland wised up and slowed down, finding Layman for the big three-pointer at 35.9 seconds, Maryland up by six, and the Owls finally on the endangered list.

"I don't think he thinks about it, I just think he thinks he's going to make every shot," said Turgeon of Layman. "The key was our execution. We used the clock. We ran a little ball-screen action and they found him. That was the key thing. The possession before that we didn't do that."

Maryland's lead had been 12 in the final seven minutes when the Owls crept back in again. Bertone hit a three over Faust, and then 6-11 Justin Raffington wasn't boxed out – a theme on the day – and got a dunk on a stickback to make it 55-48 with 5:55 to play. Maryland had a 40-33 rebounding advantage but gave up nine second-chance points and 13 points off turnover, the Owls cashing in on Maryland miscues.

Layman answered with a three-pointer over the zone but Bertone, now fully heated up with Faust on the bench, scored on a driving, spinning reverse layup and when Marquan Botley drained an open three, Florida Atlantic had clawed back to 60-56 with 3:51 left.

Out of timeout, the Owls switched to man-to-man for the first time all day and Faust forced a tough shot in the paint. FAU turned it over at the other end, went back into the zone, and Layman hit a tough drive in traffic with the shot clock running down to make it 62-56 at 2:24. Turgeon thought it should have been a foul but this game was noticeably devoid of many whistles with just 24 total fouls and only 23 total free throws. Maryland was 9-of-12 at the line.

"When our guys want to do it, their backs against the wall, they're pretty good at it," said Turgeon of the execution down the stretch.

The Terrapins, who have now won two in a row after their worst nine-game start (5-4) since 1986-87, had pushed their lead back to nine in the second half with some better half court offense and more consistent defense, particularly from Faust on Bertone.

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Shaquille Cleare scored inside from Evan Smotrycz to make it 44-35, but Florida Atlantic got the next four points, Jackson Trapp hitting a short jumper and then Botley scoring in transition to make it 44-39 at 13:08.

Turgeon took a timeout and Layman canned a baseline three to start a 7-0 run. Cleare scored inside and when Dez Wells hit two free throws at 11:22, Maryland's lead was back to 51-39.

Cleare had a season-high 10 points, hitting five of seven shots, to go with six rebounds. Mitchell also had 10 points and five boards, hitting 4-of-6, and bouncing back from a horrid game at Boston College.

It was just the second time this season that the two Maryland big men had combined for as many as 20 points. They also had 20 combined in the win over Marist, when Cleare had his previous high of eight points.

"I can play this game," said Cleare. "I just have to continue to work hard and be more of a force down low. I've been in a hole lately but I'm coming out. I know this team is going to need me. I just have to show up and play every game."

Mitchell and Energizer Bunny Jonathan Graham had started the second half and the Terrapins started quickly, Peters feeding Mitchell inside for a score and then Peters finding Wells in transition for a reverse layup that made it 37-31. FAU coach Mike Jarvis had seen enough and called a timeout just 1:17 into the half.

"Roddy was really good to start the second half," said Turgeon, who had trouble all day finding the right combinations to defend and to attack the FAU zone.

Smotrycz, in particular, struggled in probably his worst game as a Terp. He was 1-of-12 from the field, 0-6 from three-point, and had four points to go with a team-high seven rebounds and four assists. Smotrycz has hit just six of his last 29 shots (20.6 percent) over the last three games.

Faust came off the bench and made some big contributions along with his defense. He had eight points, five rebounds and five assists. Wells reached double figures for the seventh straight game, netting 10 on 3-of-10 shooting to go with six rebounds.

Maryland led just 33-31 at the half, the Owls closing fast with an 11-4 run.

Trailing 29-20, FAU had run off eight straight points. Raffington scored on a baseline drive, Bertone and Botley hit threes, Botley's at 2:48 to make it 29-28, the closest the Owls had been since the opening tip.

The Terrapins had gone two minutes and thirty-six seconds without a score when Layman tipped in a Smotrycz miss at 1:49 to make it 31-28. After a turnover out of the Terps' press, Smotrycz drew a foul and hit two free throws but when the Terps tried to double down at the other end in the post, Botley drilled his third three of the half to make it a one-point game again.

"The starting point (Botley) is shooting 26 percent for the year, and he makes four threes today," said Turgeon.

Botley, who finished with 18 points, did miss a long three at the halftime horn that would have put the Owls ahead. Florida Atlantic hit four of the team's last six three-point attempts in that half, while Maryland shot just 35 percent against the FAU 2-3 zone, taking – ahem, settling for -- 14 three-point attempts among the Terps 28 total attempts.

The Terrapins had opened up a 13-point lead when they started unraveling a little, letting the Owls back in. It was 24-13 after a Cleare dunk at 7:10, but FAU got a three from D'Andre Johnson and then a tip-in from Kelvin Penn, who seemed to have been sprayed with some sort of anti-box-out elixir. The 6-6 forward had seven first-half rebounds, five on the offensive end, and finished with 11 rebounds.

Layman got a lob dunk after a Turgeon timeout but the Owls continued to ruffle feathers, Bertone got a lay-up after a turnover but Faust hit a three at 4:25 to make it 29-20.

The Owls had missed their first six shots and had three turnovers as Maryland jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first 4:29. It wasn't coming easy for the Terps either, though, Maryland struggling against FAU's 2-3 zone. The Terps missed eight of their first 12 shots.

Peters penetrated and created a stickback for Cleare. Smotrycz got a tip-in in transition. Layman got a three-pointer on a secondary break before the Owls finally scratched at 15:08 on a tip-in by Penn.

Turgeon pulled Peters at 16:51, in favor of Faust, Peters mostly ineffective against the Owls' sticky 2-3 zone. Maryland jetted out to a 16-6 lead when Faust hit a trey at 12:12.

Peters had a steal and layup to push the lead to 22-9 at 9:23 but a possession later, he slipped and had his pass intercepted by Johnson for an easy lay-in the other way. Maryland has time off for exams, and won't play again until next Saturday's 1:00 showdown with Boston University in the Comcast Center, the second in the Terrapins' current five-game homestand.

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