Maryland staves off comeback, tips Illinois in OT
Sophomore guard Anthony Cowan sank a free throw with sixth-tenths of a second left in overtime to give Maryland a 92-91 Big Ten victory over Illinois on Sunday night in Champaign, Ill.
Cowan held the ball for the final shot and drew a foul from senior guard Mark Alstork on a 12-foot leaner just before the final horn. He made his first free throw before missing the second deliberately to keep Illinois from getting another chance.
Cowan poured in a career-high 27 points for Maryland, which hit 10 consecutive shots to seize control midway through the first half. Sophomore forward Justin Jackson added 20 points and sophomore guard Kevin Huerter contributed 17 for the Terrapins (7-3, 1-1 Big Ten). Freshman power forward Bruno Fernando’s put-back of a Huerter miss in the final second of regulation forced overtime.
Illinois (6-3, 0-2) battled back from a 22-point deficit with 17:27 to play and took its first lead on Alstork’s 3-pointer with 1:48 left in regulation. Junior forward Leron Black led the Illini with 18 points while Alstork posted 17. Alstork’s layup with 15.9 seconds left in overtime tied the game and forced Cowan’s heroics.
Maryland looked as if it would dominate from tap to finish as it broke on top 10-0 in the opening 4:02, forcing turnovers and breaking free for layups or dunks. Illinois coach Brad Underwood called a timeout and brought in his entire second unit, which led to a temporary spurt that pulled the hosts within 14-11 on backup freshman guard Trent Frazier’s layup at 10:37 of the first.
That was when the Terrapins raised their shot-making to a ridiculous level. Starting with junior guard Dion Wiley’s 3-pointer at 10:27 and ending with Cowan’s 3-pointer with 3:35 left in the first, Maryland went on a 25-9 spree that pushed its lead to 39-20. Cowan posted 13 points during that run.
Maryland shot 73 percent in the first half en route to a 45-26 halftime lead, while Illinois shot 2 of 14 on 3-pointers and never got to the foul line.
Overall, the Terrapins made 59.3 percent of their shots from the floor, and the Illini hit 51.4 percent.