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As Maryland emerges from struggles, so does senior guard Richaud Pack

Terps senior guard Richaud Pack has played well in the last two games.
Terps senior guard Richaud Pack has played well in the last two games.(Patrick Semansky, Associated Press)

Richaud Pack started the last part of his five-year college basketball journey by showing those who didn't think he could play at a high-major program how far he had come since his high school years in Detroit.

Over Maryland's first 18 games, the 6-foot-3 guard was one of the team's most productive players, averaging a little more than eight points and four rebounds while becoming a consistently effective defender on the perimeter.

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Early in the season, after fellow senior guard Dez Wells fractured his wrist and freshman guard Melo Trimble was still making the transition to the college game, Pack had one four-game stretch when he averaged 16 points, close to what he did as a junior last season at North Carolina A&T.

"Richaud's been our best player," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said at the time of the fifth-year senior, who transferred last spring from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school after starting his career at Florida International.

As the Terps struggled through a stretch in January -- winning a pair of narrow victories over Big Ten bottom-feeders Northwestern and Penn State at home while getting blown out at Indiana, Ohio State and Iowa -- Pack did as well.

In that span, Pack missed 19 of 24 shots from the field (including nine of 12 on 3-pointers), went scoreless twice and had just six rebounds, including two games when he didn't have one. His playing time decreased as a result, including a season-low 10-minute stint against Northwestern.

"It's probably just a mental thing," Pack said before the Penn State game Saturday. "Last game [against Indiana], I felt I took my shots, some didn't go in. I should be taking open shots that should be falling sooner or later, hopefully sooner."

As Maryland seems to have emerged from its funk the past two games, so has Pack.

He scored six points and hit two of his three 3-pointers, while grabbing six rebounds, in 18 minutes of a 68-66 win at home over the Hoosiers. Pack then two of three shots -- all 3-pointers in Saturday's 76-73 win at Penn State. Pack played 30 minutes against the Nittany Lions, his longest stint in 10 games.

"I think we're a much better team when Richaud Pack hits jumpers, Dion Wiley hits shots and Jared Nickens hits shots, we're really hard to guard when they do that," Turgeon said Wednesday before the Terps practiced for Thursday's home game against Nebraska.  "It makes us a pretty good team."

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Pack said last week that the two parts of his game are often connected.

Asked if his defense can get his offense on track, Pack said: "It can, and vice versa. Offense can get defense going ... You can also use different parts of the game to get going."

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