Maryland's season would be less stressful if it had blown out each of its previous opponents, but coach Mark Turgeon has welcomed the moments of adversity.
There might not be much of it when the sixth-ranked Terrapins host Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday.
Maryland (8-1) survived three early close calls against Georgetown, Rider and Illinois State, teams with which it wasn't expected to have much trouble. The only ranked team it has faced - now-No. 3 North Carolina - led most of the way in an 89-81 win Dec. 1.
The Terps rolled to an easy win over St. Francis and held a 20-point first-half lead over Connecticut on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden, but once again they had to hold off an opponent late.
The Huskies cut their deficit to three before Maryland pulled out a 76-66 victory. Melo Trimble scored a season-high 25 points, 14 of them coming at the free-throw line.
Trimble had eight turnovers against the Tar Heels and scored only three points against St. Francis.
''We were as good as we've been all year on defense and with our rebounding,'' Turgeon said. ''I'm glad it got close. We will learn more from that situation.''
Maryland held a 45-24 edge on the boards as UConn was undone from shooting 30.4 percent in the first half. It hadn't outrebounded any team by more than seven over its previous seven games and two of its previous three opponents shot over 50 percent.
Turgeon also was pleased with the performance of Diamond Stone, who finished with 16 points for the second straight game and added nine rebounds off the bench. The freshman is shooting 55.1 percent.
''I was really proud of his defense in the first half. In the second half it wasn't that good,'' Turgeon said. ''The bigger the lights the better he plays. He's coming and it helps that he has a lot of veteran bigs around him.''
The Terps have struggled at times against lower-level competition, but it would be surprising if they had any problems with Eastern Shore. The Hawks (1-8) are shooting 38.2 percent and averaging 17.1 turnovers while allowing 76.7 points per game.
They're coming off a dismal performance at No. 1 Michigan State on Wednesday, when they shot 21.9 percent and attempted only four free throws in a 78-35 loss.
UMES also was outrebounded 48-31. Although there was little chance of the Hawks beating the nation's top-ranked team, coach Bobby Collins figured his team would be more competitive.
Dominique Elliott was the only Hawk in double figures with 11 points, but he shot 5 of 15.
"We have to get better," Collins said. "I have to do a better job. We will and I will get better, but it's hard to get better against the No. 1 team in the country. They exploited all our weaknesses.
"At the same time, I still expect my team to fight. I still expect them to do what I say and execute and we will get better."
This marks the first meeting since 2012, when Maryland beat the Hawks 100-68.