Rushed Reactions: #5 Maryland 79, #12 South Dakota State 74

Posted by Kenny Ocker on March 18th, 2016

Rush the Court will be providing wall-to-wall coverage of each of the NCAA Tournament from each of the 13 sites this year. Follow our NCAA Tourney specific Twitter accounts at @RTCEastregion, @RTCMWregion,@RTCSouthregion and @RTCWestregionKenny Ocker is covering the Spokane pods of the South and West regionals this week.

Three Key Takeaways.

Maryland Survives the Bakersfield Push (USA Today Images)

Maryland Survives the Bakersfield Push (USA Today Images)

  1. South Dakota State knew what was coming, but it didn’t matter: Jackrabbits coach Scott Nagy said Thursday that the key to his team’s defense was collapsing around Maryland star sophomore guard Melo Trimble because he knew there wasn’t one player who could stop him on their own. Trimble tore up that defense for 15 points in the first half before foul trouble limited his second-half minutes somewhat. A 34-22 deficit was too much to overcome for an SDSU team that neither had the length nor the athleticism of the Terrapins. Trimble also drew a foul late in the second half and made both free throws to stop a Jackrabbits run that had closed a 17-point deficit to five at one point. (Man, fouling out with a minute left on a dumb play isn’t a good look though…)
  2. If Maryland’s Jake Layman plays this well…: The senior stretch forward picked up the slack after the troubles with Trimble, scoring 17 of his 27 points after halftime. He was unafraid to take the shots that came to him and his shooting punished South Dakota State whenever it sagged. If Layman is able to pull opposing big men from the lane, Trimble will get more space to work with, which should in turn also bring more easy buckets to freshman center Diamond Stone. Layman is the matchup problem that can make Maryland go far in the NCAA Tournament, especially now that fourth-seeded California is out of the way.
  3. This won’t be Mike Daum’s only trip to the tourney: The Jackrabbits’ freshman forward, who comes off the bench, has been one of the most efficient scorers in the country this season despite using more than 30 percent of SDSU’s possessions. He is among the top 10 players at drawing fouls and shoots 82 percent from the free throw line, plus he shoots 58 percent from two-point range and 45 percent from behind the arc. Oh, and he’s an excellent rebounder on both ends of the court, too. Daum finished with 16 points and six rebounds Friday.

Star of the Game: Maryland forward Jake Layman. His two free throws with 43 seconds to go gave Maryland a two-possession lead when the Terrapins sorely needed it, and he did it again. And that was a microcosm of Layman’s performance in the second half. Layman finished with 27 points on 7-of-11 shooting (5-of-8 from three-point range) and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

Quotable: “Here we are leaving a 6’9 tremendous shooter, great body, great athlete, and we’re having to leave him open … He’s the one that probably won the game for them.” SDSU coach Scott Nagy, on Layman.

Sights and Sounds:

  • A lot more South Dakota State fans than Maryland fans today, and a lot more missed South Dakota State shots than Maryland shots.
  • Some pairs of white fuzzy bunny rabbit ears are floating around the South Dakota State fan section.
  • One NCAA Tournament employee was so bored by this game that he fell asleep so soundly that he slept through the buzzers. Despite being seated directly below them. I don’t have the heart to tell him there’s still two games left today. (Boy, was he made to look a fool when the game got within five points, but he was up by then.)
  • The normally packed Spokane Arena was maybe two-thirds full by the end of this game when South Dakota State was making its comeback. More people would have led to more noise and energy, which the Jackrabbits could have sorely used (and a few more boos after a series of questionable officiating decisions late in the game).

What’s Next? Maryland will draw #13 seed Hawaii on Sunday, which upset #4 California earlier. South Dakota State gets to take the seldom-seen Spokane-Brookings, South Dakota, charter flight.

Kenny Ocker (29 Posts)

Kenny Ocker is a graduate of the University of Oregon and a copy editor for The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash. He has been a contributor for Rush the Court since December 2010. He can be reached via email and you can follow him on Twitter.

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