COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — When Maryland needed to make a key basket Saturday against Florida Atlantic, Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon wanted to get the ball into the hands of Jake Layman.
Layman scored 22 points, including a big 3-pointer in the final 37 seconds, to help the Terrapins hold off a late rally by Florida Atlantic in a 66-62 victory.
Shaquille Cleare, Dez Wells and Charles Mitchell each scored 10 points for Maryland (7-4).
“I think shots were falling,” said Layman, who was also 4-of-7 from 3-point range. “We did great on offense and moving the ball around against their zone. They were making shots too. They’re a good team and we just played through the adversity.”
Florida Atlantic guard Pablo Bertone, who entered the game averaging 20 points, finished with 21. Marquan Botley added 18 points for the Owls (3-8)
After opening an early 13-point lead midway through the first half, Maryland led just 33-31 at the break. A jumper by Mitchell extended the lead to 42-34 lead with 16:42 left in the game.
However, Florida Atlantic would not go away and Bertone scored eight points to pull the Owls to within four with just over five minutes remaining. After a layup by Layman, Bertone was fouled while converting a layup and his ensuing free throw cut the margin to 3 with 1:30 left.
Maryland then held possession and a 3-pointer by Layman with 37 seconds remaining sealed the game.
“I’ve seen Jake make a lot of big shots,” Turgeon said. “He had three, (3-pointers) in the second half. They were all big for us.”
Florida Atlantic missed its first six shots, allowing the Terps to open a 13-4 lead with 13:27 left in the first half. A steal and ensuing layup by Roddy Peters later increased Maryland’s lead to 22-9 with 9:20 remaining.
One of the main differences in the game was Maryland’s bench, which outscored Florida A&M, 18-8.
“I think we were tense because this team loves to win,” Cleare said. “Coach is the same way. If he’s tense, we’re going to be tense. We just want to win at the end of the day.”
The Owls finally settled down and a putback by Kelvin Penn cut the margin to 6 with 5:23 left. After a pair of Maryland turnovers, Florida Atlantic stayed to within two points at the half on a pair of 3-pointers by Bertone and Botley.
“I thought Florida Atlantic played great,” Turgeon said. “I think they’re better than their record and they’ve had to play a lot of games like this on the road. You can see there is a lot of fight in their team. They made a lot of shots.”
The Terps shot just 35.3 percent (12-for-34) in the opening half.
“We got a great experience,” Owls coach Mike Jarvis said. “We came to one of the premier schools in the country and gave them all they can handle. We scared them. At times, we played pretty good basketball.”
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)