Illinois trounces Terps

Timothy Earl January 11, 2015 Comments Off on Illinois trounces Terps

u-marylandThe 11th-ranked Maryland Terrapins had their seven game winning streak snapped at the hands of the Illinois Fighting Illini, 64-57 at a delirious State Farm Center.

With the Terps up 28-26 at the half, the Fighting Illini exploded out of the break with a 20-3 run to put the game away, ahead 46-31 with 12:10 to play in the second half.

Maryland fought back and cut the lead to 60-55 after Melo Trimble sank three free throws with 25 seconds left to play but that was as close as the Terps would get as they dropped to (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten).

Illinois was led by Malcolm Hill who scored a career-high 28 points and was a key catalyst in the game-changing second half blitz. The win was more impressive because the Fighting Illini were without their leading scorer Rayvonte Rice who is out with a broken left hand.

The game was close to start the second half but the Illinois defense which shifted from man-to-man to zone seemed to baffle the Terps who only managed to score three points nearly halfway into the second half.

Meanwhile, the Fighting Illini could not miss as they built a game-high 16 point lead at 50-34 after a Hill bucket with 8:16 to play in the game.

The Terps finally woke up on offense and finished the game on a 17-11 run but it was not enough to pull out the win. With a victory this Maryland team would have been the first ever to start the season 15-1.

The Illinois zone defense forced the Terps to shoot from long range instead of their usual dribble-drive offense which leads to more free throw opportunities. As a result, the Terps only shot 36.5 percent from the field and were only 10-18 from the free throw line while they had been averaging 25.7 free throws per game.

The Terps defense held the Fighting Illini to 36.4 percent shooting but the difference was at the free throw line where they were 17-20.

Trimble, who scored nine points in the first half but was shutout for all but the final 54 seconds of the second half, finished as the Terps leading scorer with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.  Jake Layman added 10 points and four rebounds. Freshman Dion Wiley, who was part of the late charge finished with nine points, including 3-4 from three point range.

Nnanna Egwu added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Illinois. Jaylon Tate chipped in with 10 points and four assists in a winning effort for the (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten) Fighting Illini.