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Instant analysis: No Garden party for No. 13 Maryland, as Illinois stuns Terps, 78-67, in New York

NEW YORK — Maybe Maryland shouldn’t think of Madison Square Garden as a home away from home court after all.

For the second straight year, the Terps came to the basketball’s mecca looking to take advantage of their New York fan base, only to leave them and themselves disappointed.

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After seeing an early 11-point lead over Illinois cut to four by halftime, No. 13 Maryland was upset, 78-67, amid a flurry of 3-point shots by the Fighting Illini and its own spate of turnovers.

It was the second straight loss for the Terps, with the other being a 14-point road defeat at No. 6 Michigan State. Maryland (16-5, 7-3 Big Ten) will likely drop dramatically in the next Associated Press Top 25 poll.

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Sophomore center Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 19 points and 10 rebounds, but helped open the door for Illinois (6-14, 2-7) by missing a one-and-one and a layup with Maryland leading 59-58. Junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. added 18 points.

The Maryland men's team will be part of a Big Ten basketball-hockey doubleheader at New York's Madison Square Garden when the No. 13 Terps play Saturday against Illinois at noon.

Unlike a year ago, when the Fighting Illini overcame a 22-point deficit in Champaign, Ill., only to lose in overtime, Illinois finished the game on a 26-10 run.

As happened a year ago, Maryland had a letdown at the Garden, followed last season’s 59-54 defeat to Wisconsin in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.

Maryland finished with a season-high 21 turnovers and couldn’t take advantage of the fact that the Fighting Illini went over the foul limit with more than nine minutes left.

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Illinois shot 8-for-23 from 3-point range, but hit four straight early in the second half to take a 42-40 lead. While it seemed as if the Terps were in control when they went up 57-52, they were not.

Freshman guard Ayo Dosunmu led Illinois with 20 points.

Instant analysis

For the second straight game, Maryland couldn’t finish the first half and it led to second-half problems. Given Illinois’ record coming in, this is the first bad loss on the NCAA resume for the Terps, who are about to enter their most daunting stretch in the schedule, starting Tuesday at home against Northwestern.

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