COLLEGE PARK -- Newly hired Maryland head football coach D.J. Durkin was greeted by a standing ovation when he was introduced to the crowd at XFINITY Center on Friday night. The basketball team then went out and gave a performance worthy of the same.
The Terrapins never trailed against St. Francis (PA) in College Park, riding the wave of three scorers in double figures to a 96-55 victory.
Robert Carter paced the Terrapins with 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Diamond Stone and Jake Layman had 16 points apiece.
Here are five things you need to know.
1) A fast start for a change
The only other time we’ve seen Maryland really impose their will early against a mid-major was during the team’s trip to Cancun against Rhode Island. For the first time in the United State, Maryland showed that it was the better basketball team from the start.
They led by 17 points near the 10-minute mark of the first half and pushed it to 18 by the 5-minute mark.
2) Jake Layman bounces back
The Maryland senior struggled mightily on the offense end of the floor against North Carolina, going 1-of-5 for four points. There was no trace of that on Friday night.
Layman came out aggressive and focused, taking the ball to the basket for a layup on the first chance that he got and hitting all three of his three-point attempts in the first half to give himself 11 points.
He finished with 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting and 4-of-6 shooting from three.
3) Diamond Stone comes off the bench
In an apparent effort to try out some different lineups, junior Damonte Dodd started over freshman Diamond Stone. It worked.
As a power forward on the second unit, Stone was able to do whatever he pleased offensively. It seems to solve two problems for Maryland. Firstly, it strengthens the defense on the first unit by shifting Dodd, the rim protector, into the starting lineup. Secondly, it gives some scoring to the second unit and breaks up the Dodd-Cekovsky pairing off the bench that is without a big who can create his own shot.
Stone finished with 16 points and four rebounds.
4) Jaylen Brantley gaining confidence
The biggest hurdle for junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley has been to shake off shyness when he is on the floor and to have the assertiveness to take shots when he is open. Inserted into the game when Maryland had a comfortable lead, he did against St. Francis.
Out on the wing, he pump faked and took one dribble inside the arc before hitting a nice jumper on the baseline. He added a three and two free throws in the first half for seven points.
For the game, he played 16 minutes. Games like this are vital for Brantley and the development of Maryland’s bench with Connecticut on Tuesday and one month to go in non-conference play.
5) Avoiding the look-ahead game
Maryland was coming off of a tough loss to North Carolina. They have Connecticut awaiting them at Madison Square next week. That didn’t seem to affect them on Friday night.
They were confident and energetic from the jump, which helped them to the win.