Maryland Outlasts Illini Men 62-56
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Maryland coach Mark Turgeon didn't let history repeat itself when his team defeated Illinois 62-56 on Saturday.
The Terrapins were No. 11 when they came to Champaign two years ago and were upset 64-57 by an Illinois team that did not make the NCAA Tournament.
Despite defeating Illinois 84-59 earlier this season, Turgeon made sure his team was focused.
"We had a lot of ammo to get our players dialed in," Turgeon said. "We needed to stay confident. We had a lot of history to keep us focused."
Maryland (16-2, 4-1 Big Ten) faced a better team than the one it dominated early in the season, but a sloppy second half from the Illini allowed the Terrapins to come back and hold off the Illini in the final five minutes.
The Terrapins had a cold start, including a 3-for-13 first half from beyond the arc, but Maryland responded to shoot 43 percent from the field and 27 percent from 3-point range to make up for earlier mistakes.
Anthony Cowan led the team with 19 points, but Melo Trimble and Jaylen Brantley each added 12 points to add diversity to the offensive flow.
Maryland's multiple threats are why Trimble thinks teams can't only focus on him, making the Terrapins a dangerous team.
"We have so many scorers on the team that you don't know what's going to happen," Trimble said.
Shooting wasn't the only offensive area where Maryland controlled the pace, as the Terrapin bigs held a 32-14 advantage in the paint and out-rebounded Illinois 39-30.
Brantley brought in six of his own, despite his 5-foot-11 frame.
"They just tell me to be more aggressive," Brantley said. "It takes the load off of them."
Maverick Morgan led the way for Illinois (12-6, 2-3 Big Ten) with 15 points and five rebounds.
The Illini got production from numerous different players but inconsistency in the second half, including a scoring drought that last longer than seven minutes, stalled Illinois from holding on to a lead that was as large as 11.
"Just disappointing," Illinois coach John Groce said. "We played some really good basketball this week, and we would've liked to have gotten both. It just didn't go that way."
Maryland: The Terrapins continue to look good after their loss to Nebraska. Maryland enters a relatively easy stretch in the Big Ten before things kick into gear.
Illinois: The Illini couldn't get their revenge after they were blown out at Maryland earlier this season. Illinois has a few hard games before entering an easier stretch.
The pace of the game changed at the 12:04 mark in the second half when Brantley made a layup to give Maryland the lead for good. The play started a seven-minute stretch where Illinois failed to score.
STAT OF THE NIGHT:
A strong bench performance was the reason why Illinois defeated Michigan on Wednesday. Saturday, the Illini bench was outscored 21-7.
Maryland goes back on the road after a little break, traveling to Iowa on Thursday.
Illinois will face a difficult test when it travels to Purdue on Tuesday.