After averaging 5.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game as a freshman in 2012-13, Maryland guard/forward Jake Layman developed into one of the most improved players in the ACC. Last season Layman averaged 11.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest, ranking third on the team in both scoring and rebounding. Now that the Terrapins are a member of the Big Ten, Layman’s progression is one key for a program looking to reach the NCAA tournament for the first time in the Mark Turgeon era.
Unfortunately for Layman and the Terps his summer has hit a bump in the road, with it being first reported by InsideMDSports.com that he broke a bone in his left (non-shooting) hand earlier this month. The news was later confirmed by Daniel Martin of CSNBaltimore.com.
Layman shot 40.1% from the field and 36.5% from three last season, with his three-point percentage being second-best amongst Maryland’s returnees (Evan Smotrycz). The Terrapins, which lost Seth Allen and Roddy Peters (transfers), have added four perimeter players capable of helping them in the perimeter shooting department this season.
Graduate transfer Richaud Pack has the most experience of those four, with Jared Nickens, Romelo Trimble and Dion Wiley part of a highly-regarded freshman class.
Layman and leading scorer Dez Wells are Maryland’s most experienced returnees on the perimeter, and it goes without saying that their performances will be key as the Terrapins look to navigate a new conference. The “good” news is that Layman’s injury is on his non-shooting hand, but the fact that he’ll still have to miss anywhere from four to six weeks doesn’t help matters when it comes to his improving during the summer.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.
For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.
On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.
Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.
Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.
In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.
As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.
(More to come from Chapel Hill…)
North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.
(H/T: The Cauldron)