In the history of Maryland basketball, the Terps have had better ACC openers, but I don't remember them. Granted, Virginia Tech is not Duke, but good teams (dare I say great?) blow out average teams and that's what happened today at the Comcast Center.
What a dominant performance! Watching the game, you never got the sense that the Hokies ever had a chance. At their best, VT could only hope to trade baskets with the Terps. Those spurts were infrequent as Maryland killed them from the inside and from the outside.
Surprise starter, Jake Layman, came out of the tunnel like a bolt of lightning on the way to a career high 20 points. He also rebounded, blocked shots and overall held his own on the defensive end. He flashed the skill that had recruiters drooling last year. Arguably, he has been the Terps most disappointing freshman but today he proved to whatever doubters there were that he too will be an impact player for this team.
While Layman came out strong, fellow freshman Seth Allen finished the game well. Allen led all scorers with 21 points and most of that came after halftime. His stroke is smooth and he is taking better care of the ball.
As Tim Brandt and Dan Bonner pointed out on several occasions, there were 20 or so NBA scouts in attendance. While our freshman are great, they were at Comcast to see Alex Len. While he didn't dominate, Len dropped in an easy 16 points and 9 rebs. He didn't show anything that scouts probably didn't already know but he certainly didn't disappoint.
Wells and Howard were efficient and Faust sat the second half out with an injury. He injured his shoulder in practice this week and he must have aggravated it in the first half.
Overall, we had two things confirmed for us today:
1. This is going to be a fun year. It's impossible to know from game to game which of our 10 rotational players will step up and stand out.
2. This team is going to be really good. We all hoped that the early season schedule indicated a good squad and that was confirmed on the court today.
I don't think Maryland will get ranked this week but if they beat Florida State on Wednesday and Miami next weekend, we will crack the top 25 (hopefully for good).