The University of Maryland's only two basketball losses this season came in unfriendly places against good teams. The Terrapins will get a another chance under those circumstances tonight at 8:05 when they play Missouri at Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo.

The Terrapins (8-2) will have two more players in uniform when they take the floor.

Junior forward Rodney Walker, who had transferred from Syracuse last winter, was certified yesterday by the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference and will suit up, as will senior guard Keith Gatlin, whose playing restrictions Coach Bob Wade lifted Monday.

"Rodney is certified to compete," said Associate Athletic Director Gerry Gurney, who directs the academic support unit. "He has met the residency requirement {one year} and is making satisfactory progress in a degree program."

With three new players in the last nine days -- sophomore forward Tony Massenburg rejoined the active list last Monday -- Maryland is still in the midst of transition.

As the roster has evolved, so has the team's confidence. The Terrapins were humiliated on Dec. 5, when they lost by 26 at West Virginia in their first tough road test. A week later, they improved markedly when they went to Baton Rouge, but they didn't make the plays in the final minutes and lost by one on a shot by Fess Irvin with one second left.

"We learned a lot from LSU," Wade said. "I think we've learned how to play on the road and this will be our first experience since the LSU game. One thing you have to do is not allow the crowd to bother you, and we did a good job of doing that at LSU."

The next step is to play well in the final minutes of a close game on the road and win. The Terrapins have beaten South Carolina, Arkansas and Wake Forest since the LSU loss. Saturday's victory over Wake Forest ended their string of 14 straight regular season losses in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and gave them more confidence.

"There's an air of confidence they possess," Wade said. "Winning helps that. This is the first time we've won three games in one week. It's like taking an exam. Those were three tough exams last week and we passed those by playing well and winning."

Missouri (8-2) is the defending Big Eight champion and has the conference's leading scorer from last year, Derrick Chievous. The "Band-Aid Man" is again leading the Tigers in scoring, as well as several other categories. A 6-7, 195-pound senior from New York City, he is averaging 20.9 points and 9.0 rebounds.

Chievous, who wears Band-Aids all over his body for no particular reason, and 6-9 sophomore forward Nathan Buntin are the only two Tigers to have started all 10 games as Coach Norm Stewart has been searching for a lineup that clicks. Ten players have averaged more than 13 minutes and nine of the 12 have started at least one game.

The Tigers' first loss was to Memphis State, the second to Illinois. But they have won four straight since losing to the Illini, Dec. 22 in St. Louis, and they have had the same starting five for the last three games. Monday night, the Tigers beat Southern Illinois-Carbondale, 86-66, as Chievous scored 25.

More impressive than his point total was his accuracy. He was 11 of 15, and the Tigers were 33 of 53, while the Salukis made only 26 of 74 shots. In the last four games, Missouri has shot 62 percent while holding opponents to 32 percent.

Missouri can match Maryland's depth. Stewart's first three players off the bench are big and aggressive: Byron Irvin (6-5, 195), Greg Church (6-8, 214) and Gary Leonard (7-1, 256).

"I might come with another lineup to try to spread some of the fouls," said Wade, who will be without Cedric Lewis because of flu. Wade wouldn't say who will start or who will guard Chievous.

"We want to get the ball up and down the court," Wade said. "And we want to do a good job of not allowing them to do what they want to do, which is allow Chievous to handle the ball 75 percent of the time."

Gatlin and Walker have practiced with the Terrapins since Dec. 22. Gatlin will probably make more of an impact, although Walker, at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds, gives Wade another big body and five more fouls in the front court.

Gatlin was a point guard in his first three seasons. Now, he could be put in at either guard or at small forward. And at least at first he might play less than he did as a sophomore and junior.

"I think I can get into the flow," he said. "It will definitely be a challenge, but the whole year has been a challenge since Lenny passed away. I feel comfortable at shooting guard. I don't have to handle the ball as much and I can go to the boards more. It's an adjustment from handling the ball for three years. You may see more shooting than setting it up."

Elsewhere, Navy will try to make it two in a row at Halsey Field House against Lafayette. George Washington University will be in Pittsburgh to face Duquesne, and American will be in Lawrence to face Kansas.

Navy (2-6) will be without forward Derric Turner, who dislocated a knee in Monday night's victory over The Citadel. Herrmann will start Mel Davis, Cliff Rees, Byron Hopkins, Eddie Riddick and Matt Nordmann. "Then we've got a whole bench full of guys who are 6-2," he said.