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Illinois can’t hang on against No. 3 Maryland, 59-58

It came down to the final seconds, but the Illini couldn’t escape with the win.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois hadn’t taken down a top-five team on the road since 1989 — and it didn't happen today.

After suffering a disappointing loss Monday night at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes, the Illini bounced back in a big way. Illinois led for all of 39 minutes on Saturday afternoon in College Park, but couldn’t come away with the win as they fell, 59-58.

Illinois (6-3, 0-1 Big Ten) played a completely different half than they did against Miami. Kofi Cockburn was a menace down-low forcing Maryland to shoot around the perimeter. The Illini played quick defense around the perimeter. Maryland struggled to cut to the hoop and had to settle for perimeter shots that were not falling.

Two transition threes from Trent Frazier highlighted a 39-point half for the Illini. Andres Feliz cut through the Terrapins defense with ease, lead the team in scoring in the first 20 minutes with 10 points. Cockburn dominated the boards scoring nine points.

An early technical against Donta Scott took the energy away from the Illini. A second d chance three and then foul against Cockburn forced the Illini to battle.Illinois found some energy from an unlikely source. Kipper Nichols drove through the lane and drew a charge to stop the Terrapins (10-0, 1-0 Big Ten) from inching any closer.

Defense kept Illinois in the game during a three-minute no-scoring stretch in the last five minutes. Trent Frazier went one-for-one from the free throw line to give Illinois a three point lead but an Anthony Cowan three tied up the game with 16 seconds left. Underwood let the offense play despite having a timeout and a turnover lead to Cowan free throws to seal the Illini’s fate, 59-58.

Moments that Mattered

  • First five minutes: Brad Underwood finally had a solid start to a big game. After trailing Miami 50-31 in the first half of Illinois’ last game, it was clear that Underwood had to make a change. The defense came out hot which lead to two threes off of transition.
  • Donta Scott Technical: A physical second half forced Illinois to make more mistakes. Cockburn and Feliz picked up a fouls leading to three points for Maryland. The technical stopped the energy that Illinois had going in the first half and cut the lead to nine points.

Tweet of the Game

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Stat Stuffers

  • Kofi Cockburn: 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4-for-7 FG
  • Ayo Dosunmu: 9 points, 5 rebounds, 4-for-12 FG
  • Trent Frazier: 13 points, 2 rebounds, 3-for-7 FG
  • Andres Feliz: 11 Points, 5 rebounds, 4-for-7 FG
  • Giorgi Bezhanishvili: 6 points, 3 rebounds, 3-for-9 FG

Who’s Next

Illinois has its first Big Ten game at home against No. 4 Michigan on Wednesday night at the State Farm Center. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. CT.