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TERRAPINS BACK IN RACE FOR ACC TITLE

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The most experienced team in the Atlantic Coast Conference is finally starting to play like it.

With four returning starters, Maryland was the preseason favorite to win the league. But an 0-3 league start sent the Terrapins' stock tumbling.Tuesday night, they climbed back into the ACC race by beating No. 12 North Carolina 84-78.

"We went through such tough times early, you don't feel secure," said Maryland coach Gary Williams, whose club has won six of seven to move 11/2 games behind ACC co-leaders North Carolina and Wake Forest. "You just keep trying to get better.

"This is too early to say that you've arrived or you are good because a lot of people wrote us off during that (losing) stretch. We've just been trying to claw back and get respectable."

Maryland (12-7, 5-4 ACC) won Tuesday's game with defense, using a triangle-and-two at times to hold North Carolina guards Jeff McInnis and Dante Calabria to a combined 18 points.

No. 1 UMass 73, Fordham 47

At New York, Marcus Camby scored 26 points for UMass, including 19 in the second half when a 20-2 run turned a three-point game into a 56-35 lead with 7:59 remaining.

No. 4 UConn 99, Providence 77

At Storrs, Doron Sheffer scored 22 points and Ray Allen added 21 as UConn won its 21st in a row.

No. 11 Va. Tech 69, Duquesne 63

At Blacksburg, Keefe Matthews and Damon Watlington scored 17 points apiece and Virginia Tech held on after blowing a 17-point lead. The Hokies (17-2, 9-1 Atlantic 10) won their 16th straight at Cassell Coliseum.