No. 13 Illinois handed Maryland its second straight defeat Friday night, using inside-outside balance to win, 80-76, in the consolation game of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden.
The Illini made 10 3-pointers That, coupled with their superior size, made it a difficult matchup for the Terps.
Trailing by double digits, Maryland closed to within 75-71 on a Jordan Williams (15 points) up-and-under move and a pair of free throws. Freshman guard Terrell Stoglin's 3-pointer cut the margin to 78-76 in the final 10 seconds before Illinois won it on free throws
Maryland (3-2) hopes the defeat -- along with Thursday night's opening-round loss to Pitt -- will prove as harmless as a similar experience last season in the Maui Invitational.
Like this tournament, the Hawaii games were early nonconference tests against strong opponents. Maryland fell to Cincinnati and Wisconsin, but regained its footing and improved over the course of the season.
Maryland trailed by eight early in the second half but regained the lead due to full-court pressure. The Terps cut the deficit to 46-45 on an Adrian Bowie drive off a Terps steal. Dino Gregory's bank shot put the Terps on top, 47-46.
Illinois had lost in overtime to Texas the previous night, and coach Bruce Weber had expressed concern about fatigue. That may have been a factor when Maryland went to its full-court pressure in the second half, forcing Illinois turnovers.
But Illinois regained the lead and pulled away behind senior guard Demetri McCamey (20 points).
The Illini connected on 10 of their first 16 3-pointers as the Terps struggled to defend both the arc and the inside against a larger team.
Maryland hit six of its first nine shots in the first half. But Illinois asserted itself underneath, using its size to post up smaller Maryland defenders. Maryland's low-post players were frequently double-teamed.
Worse for Maryland, leading scorer Jordan Williams picked up two quick fouls.
Williams took just one shot in the first half and didn't score in nine minutes. Maryland had hoped to get him more shots.
But the Terps hung in without him in the first half, thanks to fellow big men Gregory (four points, four rebounds in the half) and James Padgett (3-for-4 from the field in the half for six points).
Unlike Thursday night, Maryland fans at the arena were outnumbered. Illinois had a large contingent of orange-clad fans at the Garden.