Maryland continued its hot start to the college basketball season by beating No. 13 Iowa State, 72-63, in the CBE Classic title game in Kansas City on Tuesday. The Terrapins, now 5-0, led by 15 points in the final minutes.
“We’re really happy with this win,” Maryland forward Jake Layman said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We did what coach asked. We defended them for 40 minutes. It was a great effort by us all around.”
Especially by Layman, who finished with a team-high 15 points. In fact, four Terrapins reached double figures, including Jared Nickens, who came off the bench and drilled three three-pointers, finishing with 15 points.
“Jared stepped up, came off the bench (and came) in gunning for us,” Layman said. “It paid off. We trust him shooting the ball whenever he’s open. He has the green light. He played great tonight.”
Defensively, Maryland did a great job of shutting down Iowa State, especially forward Georges Niang, who shot just 4-of-14 from the floor – including 1-of-6 from three-point range – to finish with 10 points. As a team, Iowa State shot 19-of-64 (29.7 percent) from the floor and had just eight assists.
“They’re very tough,” Layman said. “Georges Niang is obviously a great player. I felt like we shut him down pretty well with our bigs and our size. We didn’t let them shoot many threes. We defended that really well, too.”
Iowa State shot just 6-of-27 (22.2 percent) from beyond the arc.
“It was just a great all-around effort by our team tonight,” Layman said. “I’m really happy with it.”
While Layman and Nickens led the way offensively, Dez Wells added 14 points of his own, albeit on 5-of-20 shooting. Still, Wells finished with nine rebounds and four assists – both team-highs.
“He just keeps going for 40 minutes whenever he’s out there,” Layman said. “With him, we always trust him with the ball in the end. He always hits those big shots for us. He made so many plays tonight for us.”
So did 6-2 guard Melo Trimble, a talented freshman from Upper Marlboro, Maryland. Trimble finished with 11 points, three rebounds, three assists and three steals.
“He’s playing like Carmelo (Anthony) right now,” Layman joked. “He’s been great for us. Coming in as a freshman, staring right away – it’s not easy. He’s taking that role like a champ. We trust him with the ball in every situation. It’s great having him on our side.”
Maryland, which also beat Arizona State this week, seems destined for a spot in the AP Poll. Layman, however, said the team knows it’s very early in the season and isn’t satisfied with its play so far. The Terrapins also know they’ll be in a dog fight in their first year in the Big Ten.
But they’re ready.
“We know there’s a lot of good teams in the Big Ten, and we think we’re one of the best,” he said. “We’re not afraid of anybody. We’re looking forward to a big year.”