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Maryland men’s basketball vs. UMBC preview

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The Terps look to end the calendar year on a six-game winning streak.

NCAA Basketball: MD Baltimore Cty at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball is back in the Xfinity Center on Friday to cap off the year and its non-conference schedule against UMBC.

The Terps (11-3) are on a five-game winning streak, and this marks the fifth game of six straight at home. It’s Maryland’s first game in the last eight days; last time out, the Terps used a 24-0 run to coast to a 25-point win over Fairleigh Dickinson. Maryland was without three contributors for the second straight game, but Bruno Fernando returned and Kevin Huerter nearly posted a triple-double. The Terps should be at full health for this one, but who knows.

UMBC marks the last opponent in the easiest five-game stretch of Maryland’s schedule. It’s the first time the Retrievers have made the trip down I-95 since 2002, and the Terps will face an up-and-coming UMBC team. The Retrievers were the third-most improved team in Division I a year ago and have won four of their last five games.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon will have a shot to get career win No. 400 when the Retrievers come to College Park on Dec. 29 at 8 p.m. ET, airing on FS1.

UMBC Retrievers (8-5)

2016-17 Record: 21-13 (9-7 American East)

Head coach Ryan Odom is back in his second year at the helm, after winning the Joe B. Hall award last year, given to the best rookie Division I coach. After going 7-25 in 2015-16, UMBC won 21 games last year, the second-best mark in school history. Last season was the team’s first winning season in almost a decade, and Odom has the Retrievers in a good position to repeat the feat.

Players to know

Jairus Lyles, senior, G, 6’2, No. 10. The DeMatha alum leads the American East in scoring and steals per game, averaging 21.8 points and 2.3 steals a contest. Lyles also adds 5.4 rebounds and four assists per game, both second on the team, and hits 2.8 threes a game at a .467 percent clip.

Arkel Lamar, sophomore, F, 6’5, No. 33. The sophomore is the Retrievers’ leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, reeling in 7.2 boards and 14.3 points a game, giving the Retrievers a second scoring option. Lamar also hits 2.5 triples a game at 48.5 percent, second on the team to Joe Sherburne by a tenth of a percentage point.

K.J. Maura, senior, G, 5’8, No. 11. The San Juan, Puerto Rico, native is the team’s best setup man, dishing out 5.8 assists per game. 27.9 percent of his possessions end in an assist, per Kenpom, and Maura adds 10.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest while shooting 44.9 percent from three.

Strengths

Three-point shooting. The Retrievers nail an NCAA-best 12.4 threes a game and do it at an efficient mark. They collectively shoot 42.5 percent from long range, good for eighth in the nation, and have four players that hit multiple threes at above a 44 percent clip.

Weakness

Scoring inside the arc. Despite their efficiency outside the arc, the Retrievers have struggled scoring inside the three-point line. UMBC shoots 46 percent from two-point land, which ranks 315th out of 351 Division I teams. For reference, Maryland shoots a full 10 percentage points better at 56.6 percent.

Predictions:

KenPom: Maryland, 82-65

Me: Maryland, 85-60