On Friday, the Big Ten only had one game and though it didn't look particularly interesting on paper, it actually was a game that had the potential to tell a lot about the Big Ten's preseason favorite going forward.
Let's take a look at the action.
Game of the Night: Maryland Terrapins 96, St. Francis PA 55
The Terrapins came out firing on Friday night and never looked back. It took only a few minutes for Maryland to jump out to a double-digit lead and it took over seven minutes for St. Francis PA (SFPA) to even score its second basket of the game. With that in mind, it's not hard to see why Maryland was able to cruise so easily.
All told, the Terps pulled away to a 96-55 win in a game that was as uncompetitive as the score indicates. SFPA just could never develop any sort of consistent offensive threat and Maryland scored at will for the majority of the night. In fact, Maryland shot an incredible 81.5 percent from two point range and 47.4 percent from three point range.
It was sheer domination.
Again, this win probably doesn't seem all that significant, but it actually does have some value. For one thing, Maryland really hasn't dominated in any of its games against lower opponents this season. Sure, the Terps have won relatively easy in the games, but for a top five team, just winning by a decent margin probably isn't good enough. Maryland should be blowing opponents off its court and that's what it did on Friday.
The key players for Maryland were Robert Carter, Jake Layman, and Diamond Stone. All three players scored 16 points on the night. Carter probably had the best game with 20 points, six rebounds, and six assists. However, Layman also added three rebounds and two assists to his 16 points and Stone had three rebounds and finished with an impressive 142 offensive rating.
Seeing Layman perform this well was pretty noteworthy. He had failed to score double-digits in his last three games and shot 3-for-10 from three point range during those games. In short, he was in the midst of a rough stretch and he finally got back on track on Friday. If Maryland is going to compete at the top in the Big Ten and nationally, it's imperative that Layman perform well.
Now, Maryland will move on and get an exciting matchup with Connecticut on Tuesday. The Huskies are considered to be a top 25 team and will pose a major challenge to the Terps. On paper, it looks like a great game and if Maryland can keep its hot play from Friday going, the Terps have a great shot at the win.