Confidence in Jake Layman unwavering after struggles

Confidence in Jake Layman unwavering after struggles
March 4, 2014, 1:30 pm
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Maryland honors Alyssa Thomas

(Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

Jake Layman heads into Tuesday night’s game against Virginia Tech, coming off the worst shooting night of his career. He was 1-of-14 from the floor, including 1-of-9 from three-point range.

But there’s an unwavering confidence that head coach Mark Turgeon has in his sophomore forward. Just over 48 hours after that 50-minute struggle, Layman will be as much a part of the game plan against Virginia Tech as he was against Clemson.

“Jake’s going to need to play and need to play well for us,” Turgeon said. “So, you know, it wasn’t like we told Jake to quit shooting yesterday.

“We got mad at him when he wouldn’t shoot. So we think he’s going to make his next shot. He’s got to think that way.”

He has been plagued by inconsistency throughout conference play, though. Struggles against Florida State, Notre Dame, and NC State were followed by a stretch of three straight games in double figures.

[RELATED: Previewing Maryland-Virginia Tech]

Eighteen big points on the road against Duke were followed later by a 2-of-20 shooting slump over Layman’s last two games.

Turgeon maintains that this is a small subsection of a much larger graph showing Layman’s progression this season.

“You know, he’s had a good year. He just had a bad day [vs. Clemson], so hopefully he’ll regroup,” Turgeon said. “Part of growing up, which we talked about after the game yesterday, is just maturing, growing up and, you know, we really talked about moving on.”

Moving on would mean beating a team--the Terrapins hope, handily--that is 2-14 in conference play and has only beaten fellow ACC cellar-dweller Miami twice.

Expect Layman to be an asset against Virginia Tech’s zone, which the Hokies have implemented in hopes of being more competitive in conference play. So far, it has worked, but if Layman finds his groove, it only means good things for Maryland.

“That was a frustrating day and we came up short and we have to move on,” Turgeon said. “We can’t think about Clemson and the way we played in that game or the way you might have played in that game leading into Tuesday. You’ve got to put it behind you and be strong mentally and move forward, so hopefully Jake will do that.”