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Terrapins 'try to get better' with Miami up next

Mark Turgeon passed on talking about Miami when asked Saturday about his team's upcoming opponent, simply because the Maryland coach hadn't watched any film on the Hurricanes yet.

No doubt Turgeon and the Terrapins have done a little scouting on a Miami squad that is near the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference standings at 10-9, 2-5.

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Another loss tonight, however, and the Terps (11-9, 3-4) will be joining the 'Canes.

"We're trying to figure it out," Turgeon said after Maryland fell 83-79 to Pitt Saturday, the Terps' fourth loss in five games. "It's just one of those years. That's the way it's bouncing right now."

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Maryland hosts a Miami team that comes to College Park after a difficult stretch at home. The Hurricanes dropped back-to-back games against Duke (67-46) and Syracuse (64-52), both nationally-ranked opponents.

The 'Canes rank near the bottom of Division I in scoring - their 61 points per game is 345th in the nation and last in the ACC - but allow only 59.3 points per game, 10th best in the country.

Senior guard Rion Brown leads Miami with 13.4 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, but he's the only double-digit scorer on a team that has dropped four of six.

"I don't really feel like Miami is playing slow offensively," Turgeon said during the ACC coaches teleconference Monday. "I think they're still trying to run. Their defense is so good, it slows the game down and it's hard to get shots early. We've just got to be patient."

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Patience may have cost Maryland Saturday against Pitt, which took 47 free throws and capitalized on a quick-fire Terps offense in the second half. The Panthers got inside Maryland's defensive sets and rose Lamar Patterson to victory with the senior guard scoring 28 points and making 12 of 14 free throws.

The Terps can't afford to stay at one speed against Miami, Turgeon said.

"When there's opportunities to run, you've got to do that, and there will be," he said. "But then there's going to be other times when you come down [the court], and you've really got to work. It might take you 30 seconds to get a good shot."

Maryland had five players in double figures Saturday, led by Dez Wells' 19 points, but lost the rebound battle in a big way. Miami has Brown and Donnavan Kirk, a 6-foot-9 forward, to grab rebounds. Kirk averages 6.1 boards per game to go with 9.6 points per game.

Wells (6 for 11) and sophomore Jake Layman (7 for 11, 18 points) shot well against Pitt, and guard Seth Allen, another sophomore, saw a season-high 35 minutes in his eighth game back from a broken bone in his foot.

Allen's progress might be the key to Maryland's offense becoming more consistent.

"He's getting closer to 100 percent," Turgeon said Saturday.

The Terrapins take to the road once more after tonight's tilt, with visits to Virginia Tech Saturday and North Carolina next Tuesday. Maryland's 1-4 record away from Comcast Center is something that likely needs to change if the Terps want to gather any momentum in the final month of the regular season.

"Guys have just got to do their jobs better," Turgeon said.

"Just keep plugging, try to learn, try to watch film, just try to get better."

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