COLLEGE PARK -- In some ways, short memories can hurt a basketball team.
Mark Turgeon admitted after Sunday’s 75-69 overtime win over No. 5 Virginia at Comcast Center that on a key possession toward the end of regulation, one of his players forgot which play the team was running.
But having a short memory can also help a player, as it did sophomore forward Jake Layman while he was struggling through another tough shooting game: 1 of 7 from the field and 0-for-4 on 3-pointers against the Cavaliers.
Not only did Layman put aside another a recent shooting slump, but he also didn’t think about a key missed free throw from a game last month.
It came in the final minute in what turned out to be a two-point loss to then-No. 4 Syracuse on Feb. 24 at Comcast Center. Instead of tying the game with 44.7 seconds left, Layman’s miss kept the Terps behind and changed the way Maryland was forced to play.
Layman wasn't thinking about that game, but he admitted he was thinking a little about his shooting woes Sunday when he made eight straight free throws against Virginia, two toward the end of regulation and four in overtime. Maryland made 24 of 30 free throws, including 8 of 8 by Dez Wells.
Asked if it is tough to shoot free throws when the outside shots are not falling, Layman said: “A little bit. In the back of my head, I’m thinking, ‘I’m not making anything today. I just kind of had to forget about that and focus on those free throws. I knew they were huge free throws.”
It was similar to what the Terps went through as a team after losing close games throughout the season -- most recently to then-No. 8 Duke, as well as Syracuse and Clemson -- and then being forced into overtime by the Cavaliers.
“You’ve just got to be able to forget about the past and focus on what’s ahead of you,” said Layman, who finished with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds. “We were just focused on Virginia.”
Layman gave Maryland coach Mark Turgeon a lot of the credit for the way the team played in overtime.
“Everyone was just really devastated,” Layman said. “There were just so many different emotions. Coach really brought us together to get our mind off of what just happened. He told us to just focus on overtime and the future for now. So we did.”
In this case, having a short memory helped.