SPOKANE, Wash. — Jake Layman scored a season-high 27 points and Melo Trimble had 15 of his 19 points in the first half as fifth-seeded Maryland built leads as large as 18 points before holding off 12th-seeded South Dakota State for a 79-74 victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday.
South Dakota State’s George Marshall hit three free throws with 1:03 to play to pull the Jackrabbits within two points, but Layman drew a foul away from the ball with 43.1 seconds left and hit both free throws to push the lead to four.
Tevin King had a chance to cut the lead with two free throws with 24.4 seconds to play but could only hit one. Maryland (26-8) then got the ball to Layman, who sank two more free throws to extend the Terrapins’ lead to 76-71 with 18 seconds to go.
South Dakota State was not going away, however, after Maryland’s Rasheed Sulaimon was whistled for a foul on Deondre Parks, who was awarded three free throws and hit them all to trim the Maryland advantage to 76-74 with 12.1 seconds to play.
When Maryland’s Jaylen Brantley missed one of two free throws, the door was open for South Dakota State, but the Jackrabbits turned the ball over in the backcourt and the game ended on a Sulaimon breakaway dunk.
Layman torched the Jackrabbits from deep, making 5 of 8 shots from 3-point range. He entered the game averaging 11.2 points, but seems to be heating up after scoring a season-high 26 in a win over Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament.
The Jackrabbits (26-8), champions of the Summit League, managed to keep the game tight early. A 3-pointer by Reed Tellinghuisen with 12:35 left in the first half pulled South Dakota State to a 10-10 tie.
But then Trimble took over. The sophomore guard scored eight of the Terrapins’ next 11 points to establish a cushion that would grow to a dozen by halftime.
The lead grew to 18 points in the second half with Maryland’s hot shooting and its advantage on the boards.
South Dakota State freshman Mike Daum did what he could to keep the Jackrabbits in contention, scoring nine of his 16 points in the second half.