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Maryland working on finishing kick

No. 7 Maryland’s 10-7 win against No. 10 Duke on Saturday helped the Terps improve to only their second 3-0 start in the last six years. But an area of concern has been the team’s poor showings in the second halves of back-to-back contests.

Maryland owned a 16-5 advantage over Georgetown Feb. 24 before the Hoyas scored six goals in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter to make things slightly uncomfortable. And the Blue Devils scored three of four goals in the fourth quarter Saturday.

In both games, the Terps won, but lost the numbers battle in the second halves. The Hoyas took one more shot, won 13-of-17 faceoffs, and scooped up three more groundballs in the second half. Duke took 21 more shots, collected three more groundballs, and committed seven fewer turnovers over that same span.

Maryland coach John Tillman said extending a high level of play from the first to the second halves will be a point of emphasis in practice this week.

“You always aspire to play 60 good minutes of lacrosse, and I don’t think many teams are there right now and we’re certainly not there,” he said Monday morning. “So that’s something that we’re going to have to address. You’re trying to finish games and play a full 60 minutes, and that may be hard to do in the beginning of the season, but it is something that we’re addressing. We’re looking at the mistakes that we’re making and the areas that we can improve. We can’t survive a whole season giving up 15 shots and only getting one in a quarter. We’re not going to win any games that way.”

The Terps may not get much time to work on that as they travel to Catonsville for Tuesday night’s contest at UMBC, which dropped a 10-9 decision in overtime to No. 20 Fairfield. That’s why Tillman stressed putting the win against Duke in the rearview mirror.

“With it being such a quick turnaround, we need to move forward,” he said. “Whether we won or lost Saturday, you’ve got to leave those games and look forward. Every game is unique and every new game takes on a new challenge. So we certainly can’t worry about what happened or be content with what happened Saturday. It’s a fresh start. We’ve addressed that, we talked about it. As coaches, we’re very concerned. UMBC was very close to beating a Top 20 team on Saturday. So they’re certainly capable and they’re well-coached and talented.”

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