Maryland's defense dominated the second half against Illinois in a battle for sole possession of first place in the Big Ten, and the Terrapins prevailed 75-66 at Champaign, Ill., on Friday.
Anthony Cowan led five Terrapins in double-figure scoring with 20 points as the streaking Terrapins (19-4, 9-3 Big Ten) won their sixth consecutive game, including three in a row on the road. Darryl Morsell had 18 points and five rebounds, and Jalen Smith added his 14th double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Ayo Dosunmu led the Illini (16-7, 8-4) with 16 points, but Illinois lost its second straight contest after a seven-game winning streak. The Illini were swept in two games by the Terrapins this season.
Maryland's defense held the Illini without a field goal the first eight minutes of the second half, and a 13-0 run put the Terrapins ahead 53-44 at 12:22 on two Morsell free throws. A Smith dunk with 16:21 left to make it 46-44 had marked Maryland's first lead since the game's first 2 1/2 minutes.
Illinois missed 16 of first 17 shots in the second half but stormed back within one point twice, each time on an Alan Griffin 3-pointer, the last with 8:44 remaining.
The Illini got a stop, but Morsell stole an outlet pass and canned a 3-pointer to make it 59-55 with 7:30 left, igniting a 10-1 run-out. Illinois connected on just 7 of 27 shots (25.9 percent) in the second half.
The Illini had gone on their own 13-0 spree to take command early, and they led 42-40 at the half. Dosunmu's jumper broke a 7-7 tie, and when Da'monte Williams drilled his second 3-pointer during the run, Illinois led 17-7 with 15:10 to go in the half.
The Illini would lead by as many as 14 points, but the Terrapins ended the half on a 19-9 run, Aaron Wiggins hitting back-to-back threes late. Cowan kept the visitors close with 13 points in the first 20 minutes.
Maryland overcame a 15-point deficit to prevail 59-58 in the Dec. 7 meeting of the two teams at College Park, Md.
--Field Level Media