GAME NOTES: The Maryland Terrapins will play their final Atlantic Coast Conference game in Blacksburg on Saturday when they battle the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum.
The Terrapins are coming off a 74-71 home victory over Miami-Florida, which rose them up to a 4-4 ACC standing and snapped a two-game losing streak. They scored 22 points off of the Hurricanes' 14 turnovers to survive the closely contested matchup. Coach Mark Turgeon's team has gone 0-3 on the road in league action so far and won just one away game this season. Maryland is outscoring its opposition by an average of 3.2 ppg.
Virginia Tech is in last place in the ACC race after losing its last seven games. Boston College coasted past the Hokies for a 76-52 decision in their last appearance. Coach James Johnson watched his squad get outscored, 42-12, by the Eagles from beyond the arc on Wednesday. The lack of accuracy from the perimeter by Virginia Tech was unusual as it is ranked second in the ACC in 3- point field-goal percentage (.386).
Maryland swept the season series last season, and have won three in-a-row against the Hokies. The Terps own a 30-10 all-time series lead although Virginia Tech has come out of four of the last six bouts held at Cassell Coliseum.
The Terps received a boost in their most recent outing from Dez Wells, who poured in 21 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer in final minute of play. Wells had a perfect shooting night, making 7-of-7 from the field and 6- of-6 attempts at the free-throw line. Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman scored 15 points apiece against Miami. Now in his second season at Maryland, Wells is posting a team-best 14.9 ppg on 47.9 percent shooting from the floor. The former Xavier guard has received more help recently. Sophomore swingman Jake Layman has tallied 33 points over his last two games and Smotrycz has converted 57 percent of his field-goal tries over the past three games.
Virginia Tech struggled tremendously on the offensive end during its two-game road trip, which began in Charlottesville against Virginia. The team scored only 44.5 ppg on the trip and may have trouble bouncing back without Adam Smith (11 ppg), who is going to be out until at least next week with a calf strain. C.J. Barksdale (8.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg) is also listed as questionable. The Hokies will have to rely even more heavily on Jarrell Eddie, who is pacing the squad with 14.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Eddie recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 boards in Virginia Tech's loss at BC. Although Eddie made good on 8- of-13 field goal tries, the rest of the Hokies combined to connect on just 10- of-40.
Virginia Tech would have a much better chance of knocking off the Terps if Smith were healthy. Eddie is a great all-around player, but Maryland has much more depth. The Hokies will need one of their role players, such as freshman guard Ben Emelogu, to step up their play to end their losing skid on Saturday.
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