CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 11 Maryland men’s basketball team dropped its first Big Ten contest of the year at Illinois, 64-57, Wednesday night at the State Farm Center.
Freshman Melo Trimble scored a team-high 17 points – his 15th double-figure scoring performance of the year – and added five rebounds and four assists. Jake Layman, who saw limited action in the first half after picking up two early fouls, notched 10 points and four boards for Maryland (14-2, 2-1 B1G).
Illinois was 17-for-20 from the free throw line on the night. The Illini have now won seven straight Big Ten home openers. Malcolm Hill posted a game-high 28 points for Illinois, which held Maryland to a season-low 57 points.
Led by nine points from Trimble, Maryland boasted a 28-26 lead at the half but Illinois (11-5, 1-2 B1G) recorded a punishing 20-3 run to kick off the second half as the Terps trailed by as much as 16 in the period.
Maryland put forth a valiant effort down the stretch, however. A trio of consecutive three-pointers by rookies Jared Nickens, Trimble and Dion Wiley cut the Illini lead to 58-52 with 36 seconds remaining. Trimble hit three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt for a 60-55 score with 24 seconds to play but the Terps would get no closer. Wiley and Nickens finished with nine and seven points, respectively.
Maryland will complete a two-game road swing when it travels to Purdue Saturday. Tipoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. and will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.