- Associated Press - Monday, January 14, 2013

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami avoided a letdown after its road win at North Carolina.

The Hurricanes struggled with their shooting but still defeated Maryland 54-47 Sunday night.

Kenny Kadji scored 14 points to lead the Hurricanes (12-3, 3-0), who have opened Atlantic Coast Conference play with three consecutive wins for the first time since they joined the conference in 2004-05.

“It means we’re in first place, but only after three games,” Kadji said.

Trey McKinney Jones finished with 12 points and Shane Larkin had 10 points and six assists for the Hurricanes.

McKinney Jones’ two free throws with 38.4 seconds remaining increased Miami’s lead to 50-44. Durand Scott secured the win with an uncontested fast-break layup for a 52-44 lead with 24 seconds left.

Miami’s victory over the Terrapins (13-3, 1-2) followed road wins at North Carolina on Thursday night and at Georgia Tech on Jan. 5.

“It’s nice for the university, but hopefully for the students,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said of the Hurricanes’ strong start in conference play. “We’re getting contributions from different guys.”

Alex Len scored eight straight points for the Terrapins late in the second half. Len’s dunk with 39 seconds left brought Maryland to within 48-44.

Dez Wells scored 18 points for the Terrapins. Len finished with 16 points.

Maryland’s point total was its season low. The Terrapins shot 31.6 percent (18 of 57) from the field.

The Hurricanes didn’t fare much better. Miami shot 34.9 percent (22 of 63).

“That was a slugfest — both teams were kind of in a heavyweight fight,” Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon said. “It was a very physical game. Neither team could make shots or free throws. That said, I was pleased with our effort.”

The teams’ first half shooting struggles continued early in the second half. Miami led 19-14 at halftime but had only a 30-27 advantage after Wells‘ 3-point play with 10:09 remaining in the game.

Julian Gamble’s consecutive dunks and a three-point play from Kadji helped Miami run off seven unanswered points. Gamble’s second dunk, off a missed shot, gave the Hurricanes a 39-29 lead with 5:23 remaining.

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