Freshman Tevian Jones’ 3-pointer at 4:57 broke a 59-59 tie and propelled Illinois to a 78-67 upset of 13th-ranked Maryland on Saturday afternoon at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Fellow freshman Ayo Dosunmu scored a team-high 20 points and Illinois (6-14, 2-7) got a big boost from its bench against the mistake-prone Terrapins (16-5, 7-3), who committed 15 of their 21 turnovers in the second half.
Jones finished with a career-high 18 points as the Illini reserves compiled a commanding 37-12 edge in bench scoring. He had scored a total of 28 points all season prior to his breakout at the league’s annual Super Saturday College Hoops & Hockey doubleheader at the Garden.
Bruno Fernando led the Terrapins with 19 points and 10 rebounds, his 12th double-double of the year. Maryland has now lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. The two setbacks, including a 69-55 loss at No. 6 Michigan State on Monday, came after a seven-game winning streak.
Illinois, which entered the game in 12th place in the Big Ten standings, beat a ranked opponent for the first time since upsetting Iowa in the 2016 Big Ten Tournament.
The Illini trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, but scored 11 of the last 14 points in the half to claw within 34-30 at the break. Dosunmu led the rally with eight of his 14 first-half points during the run.
Illinois took a 42-40 lead on Trent Frazier’s 3-pointer with 16:57 to play.
Maryland shot out to an early lead thanks to the inside one-two punch of Fernando and Jalen Smith. Smith scored the Terps’ first seven points and he and Fernando combined to hit their first six shots. When Aaron Wiggins drilled a 3-pointer at 5:35, Maryland led 30-19. Smith finished with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Maryland point guard Anthony Cowan fouled out with 23 second left with 18 points and five assists.
Andres Feliz added 15 points off the bench for Illinois, which had won just one other game this month.
The Terrapins return to their home court Tuesday to host Northwestern. Illinois is at Minnesota Wednesday.
—Field Level Media