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Why Turgeon thinks Layman could be playing himself into NBA's 1st round


Why Turgeon thinks Layman could be playing himself into NBA's 1st round

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland will celebrate its seniors before Thursday's game against Illinois, including one player who head coach Mark Turgeon proudly points out was loyal to the program during the most trying time of his tenure, Jake Layman.

When five players transferred, Layman told Turgeon that he wanted to stay.

Now, three years later, he is one of the key cogs for a team with hopes to make a run late into March while averaging 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor, 37 percent from three, and 82 percent from the line.

"I think he's playing his way maybe into the first round of the NBA Draft," Turgeon said on Wednesday.

"He's really playing well right now, become a complete player, defends really well, he's playing at a great pace, he's scoring on all levels right now, and he's the reason we've won 23 games already -- because this great senior class, but because of Jake."


The improvement defensively is the biggest key.

If someone had told you when he was a freshman that by his senior year he would be the perimeter cornerstone of a team that rankings in the nation's Top 20 in adjusted defensive efficiency, per KenPom, there would have been skeptics. 

Now, he is the most versatile attacker at the top of Maryland's 1-3-1 press and has had a hand in shutting down some of the Big Ten's best scorers including Iowa's Jarrod Uthoff and Nebraska's Shavon Shields.

"He was a specialist when he came here. Now he's a basketball player," Turgeon said. "So that's a good feeling for me but it's all because of how hard he worked."

Layman is currently projected to be selected No. 41 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft by At 6-9, 220 pounds, he has great height for the small forward position at the NBA level, though he played some stretches as a power forward last season. 

As the NBA moves toward more small-ball lineups, scouts will likely be impressed by his combination of size and athleticism and his improvement defensively certainly helps his stock -- meaning he can affect games even when he's not scoring.

The best part, as Turgeon pointed out? He is on track to earn his degree in May, which was not always a certainty during his academic career.

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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.


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.


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


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.


"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.


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."


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.