COLLEGE PARK — Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon spent the entire preseason preaching to his team about the need to play inside-out. He wanted the Terps to look inside, to junior forward Robert Carter Jr. or one of their three centers, before settling for 3-pointers and perimeter shots.
So what did No. 3 Maryland do in its past two games against Georgetown and Rider? The Terps settled for 3-pointers, with senior forward Jake Layman hoisting two quick shots from beyond the arc against the Hoyas and Carter doing the same against the Broncs. Maryland dug itself into holes in both games, only to make second-half comebacks and improve to 3-0.
"I think bad shot selection hurt us tonight," said Layman, who finished 3-for-9 overall and 0-for-3 on 3-pointers. He redeemed himself in Friday's 65-58 win over Rider (0-3) by finishing with 11 points, including Maryland's last four from the free-throw line, to go along with 11 rebounds.
Maryland missed its first seven 3-pointers against Georgetown (finishing 8-for-21 overall) and six of its first seven against the Broncs (finishing 5-for-23 overall).
"When the game starts off, we should be focused on being aggressive and getting the ball inside," Layman said.
Even freshman center Diamond Stone, who saved the Terps on Friday by scoring 10 of his 12 points in the second half to help erase a 14-point deficit, noted that "we were shooting too many jump shots, and that's why people play zone, so you can shoot jump shots."
Stone's post touches and Layman's aggressiveness inside — his put-back of a missed layup by sophomore guard Melo Trimble gave Maryland a 57-52 lead with 2:51 remaining — were not the only factors in Maryland's comeback.
Turgeon's decision to go to a rarely used but recently practiced 1-3-1 trapping zone also helped. The Terps had practiced it in preparation for Georgetown but never had to use it.
On Friday, because Turgeon conceded he was "desperate," Maryland went to it after falling behind 43-29 early in the second half. The defense helped slow the Bronc and speed up the Terps, who quickly cut into their deficit before going back to their man-to-man defense to close the game.
"We haven't practiced it a lot. We didn't practice it" Thursday, Turgeon said. "We practiced it a lot early in the year, so our guys know what to do. I felt pretty comfortable against their lineup that we could run it and be successful."