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Illinois falls to Maryland, 66-63

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That’s a tough loss.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Illinois Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

The Illini held a 2-point lead with just under two minutes to go, but couldn’t shut the door against a depleted Maryland squad.

Illinois fell to the Terrapins, 66-63, on Sunday night at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

It was all Darryl Morsell in the second half, adding 11 points out of the gate to retake the lead for the Terrapins and finishing with 19 on the day. Illinois’ All-American also came to play, though. Dosunmu poured in 16 second-half points and got some help from freshman Andre Curbelo (8 points, 3 assists) but it wasn’t enough to take down the Terrapins..

Starting point guard Eric Ayala was out for Maryland due to a groin injury, but that wasn’t a problem for the Terrapins who went punch-for-punch with Illinois in the first half thanks in part to a hot start behind the arc (5-11 first-half 3-point attempts).

The Illini (9-4, 5-2 Big Ten) got their stars established early with Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn combining for 15 of the team’s first 18 points, but Maryland used a 9-0 run to take an 18-16 lead at the under-12 media timeout. It was a pretty clean start in terms of taking care of the basketball for an Illinois team that ranks last in the Big Ten in turnovers per game. The Illini committed zero turnovers in the first 8.5 minutes, yet closed the half with 7 over the final 11 minutes and finished with just 9 on the evening.

Illinois promptly went through a cold spell, converting just 2 of its next 16 field goal attempts, before it got some production from Adam Miller. The freshman hit 3-of-4 first-half shots from deep to give the team much-needed life on offense. The trio of Dosunmu, Miller and Cockburn combined for 32 of Illinois’ 34 points as the Illini took a 34-32 edge into the break.

Neither team led by more than 7 points the entire night, but it was the Terrapins that did just enough down the stretch to hold off Illinois for a 66-63 win.

STAT STUFFERS

  • Kofi Cockburn: 21 points, 10 rebounds
  • Ayo Dosunmu: 23 points, 8 rebounds
  • Darryl Morsell: 19 points, 4 rebounds
  • Donta Scott: 16 points, 8 rebounds

TWEET OF THE GAME

The story of Illinois Basketball.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS

Your daily dose of Andre Curbelo doing Andre Curbelo things.

WHO’S NEXT

Illinois hits the road on Wednesday night to square off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-8, 0-5 Big Ten) at 8:00 p.m. CT on Big Ten Network.