BLACKSBURG, Va. — Jake Layman hunched himself over the shoulders of a couple of Maryland men's basketball teammates and support staff members Saturday, watching a clip of the 6-foot-8 sophomore forward’s tomahawk dunk over 6-11 Virginia Tech freshman forward Trevor Thompson in the second half of an 80-60 Terps win.
It had been a pretty quiet afternoon for Layman, who picked up a foul in the opening minutes, committed a couple of early turnovers and didn’t seem to get into any kind of rhythm until late in the first half, which ended with a 3-pointer right before the halftime buzzer that gave Maryland an eight-point lead.
But it was the dunk, along the right baseline, with a little over nine minutes to go that was the exclamation point on a stretch in which the Terps had four slams in a little under 12 minutes. The last of them came when sophomore forward Charles Mitchell rumbled upcourt for a fast-break dunk, nearly having his shot blocked.
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It certainly pumped up Layman, who showed more emotion than usual. Layman’s dunk might have been the first he has had over a taller, more athletic opponent since he came to College Park with a reputation as a great outside shooter but with a love of disproving Woody Harrelson’s character in “White Men Can’t Jump."
Asked about the dunk after the game, and the tongue-wagging he gave going back upcourt, Layman said: “When I dunked it, I just saw our bench and it got me even more excited. It was a great feeling.”
Layman had tried the same move a few times this season, either banging the ball off the back rim or getting it rejected by a taller, stronger opponent. Doing it against Thompson might give Layman the confidence to go to the hoop in the near future just as he did Saturday.
“It just shows to me that being aggressive pays off,” said Layman, who finished with 10 points. “I’ve been trying to be more aggressive these past three or four games. It’s been showing out there.”
Said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon: “He had a good finish in the first half, that little finger roll from 8 feet. Teams are crowding him. He’s trying to add to his game. Good thing is that we really didn’t need Jake today. Jake wasn’t at his best. But [the dunk] was good for him.”
Afterward, sophomore point guard Seth Allen was asked to pick between Layman’s dunk and Mitchell’s as the best of the game.
“Charles is a big body. It’s like a linebacker running at you," Allen said. "But I like Jake’s. Jake really got up there."