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3-of-5 Preview: Questions (and answers) for Jake Layman

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3-of-5 Preview: Questions (and answers) for Jake Layman

In the days leading up to Saturday’s Midnight Madness festivities, CSN will take a look at each projected member of Maryland’s starting five with an individual preview for each player. We will pose three questions of the five starters, with CSN’s answer for each listed just below it.

Here is the 3-of-5 Preview.

Name: Jake Layman

Position: Small forward

Class: Senior

2014-15 Stats: 12.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.4 APG

Question 1: How will things change as he shifts back to his natural position?

Layman played a good deal of power forward last season as injuries made it almost a necessity. With Robert Carter becoming eligible, Layman shifts primarily back to his natural position at small forward.

One would think he learned things while having to change positions. He became more of a threat in the post, which helped to diversify his offensive game. He has said himself that he was made tougher by having to go against Carter every day in practice. His shooting percentage also increased dramatically.

That should carry over as he shifts back, giving him the option to use his athleticism against bigger defenders or take smaller defenders down into the post.

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Question 2: Is he willing to regularly get into the driver’s seat?

Over his first three seasons in College Park, the biggest critique of Layman has been that in big games he fades into the background. Was that a factor of players like Dez Wells taking the lead and Layman deferring?

With Wells having graduated, does Layman fill that role as a senior? Or do players like Carter and Stone and Sulaimon gladly pick up the slack and we see a similar pattern from the Massachusetts native?

Maryland is better the more weapons they have. And Layman is a weapon that they would love to turn to whenever possible. He just has to know that Maryland is fine with him missing a few shots because by this point in his career he has proven that he can hit his groove eventually.

Question 3: Will a senior season improve his draft stock?

Layman was projected to be a fringe first-round pick in the 2015 draft because of his combination of size, athleticism, and shooting ability fits perfectly into the NBA’s new-found love for small ball.

Now that he returns, which direction does his stock head? If he appears to level off, perhaps the perception of him by scouts does as well. But players have stayed four years and not hurt their stock in the past.

What would he have to do to improve it? Showing more assertiveness is likely atop that list, plus more improvement on the defensive end. If he does those things, he should cement a spot on that first or second-round fringe.

PREVIOUS INSTALLMENTS

3-of-5 Preview: Melo Trimble

3-of-5 Preview: Rasheed Sulaimon

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

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Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities

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Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland overwhelmed by Penn State in close loss

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Lamar Stevens feels like he's playing his most consistent basketball right now, a bad omen for upcoming opponents considering Penn State expects its hybrid forward to do a little bit of everything.

Just like he did on Wednesday.

Stevens scored 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting with 14 in the second half to lift Penn State over Maryland 74-70.

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"Lamar really stepped up for us," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said. "We needed every one of those points that he had tonight."

Tony Carr added 16 points, Josh Reaves scored 14, and Mike Watkins added 11 for the Nittany Lions (17-9, 7-6 Big Ten Conference), who equaled their previous best mark for conference victories under Chambers.

"The best teams always find ways to win," Stevens said. "We locked down when we had to, got huge stops, huge rebounds and I think that's a huge step for this team."

With Maryland (16-10, 5-8) up 20-14 midway through the first half, Stevens nailed his first of two 3-pointers to spark a quick 9-0 run that helped Penn State take control.

He rolled layups off his fingers and sank midrange jumpers on multiple back-to-back possessions in the second half, where he scored 11 of his team's first 20 points.

"He made some incredible, incredible shots," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "He was terrific, he was so efficient."

Stevens added four rebounds, two assists and was 3-for-4 on free throws with all three makes coming in the final 5:48 as Maryland threatened.

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Anthony Cowan Jr. led Maryland with 15 points while Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando added 13 apiece.

Darryl Morsell had 10 points for the Terrapins, who cut a 10-point deficit with 8:11 to play to just three with 1:13 left.

"I didn't think we competed in the first half defensively," Turgeon said. "I thought in the second half, we were really trying hard."

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terrapins' disappointing season continues and they have dropped to 7-7 since stalwart forward Justin Jackson's season was ended by a torn shoulder ligament in late December. Although they shot better than their season average, the Terrapins were badly outplayed in the paint, getting outscored 32-22 and outrebounded 27-23.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions are playing an exciting brand of basketball as of late. They have a combined 22 dunks over their last three home games and opponents are finding it hard to play fast against a team that thrives on speed.