Men's Basketball Advances to Sweet 16
March 14, 1998Box Score
By STEVE WILSTEIN
AP Sports Writer
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Obinna Ekezie, scoreless until the final six minutes of the game, hit a game-tying jumper and six free throws down the stretch as Maryland held off an Illinois 67-61 Saturday in the second round of the NCAA West Regional.
Vowing to pound the ball inside, Maryland instead turned to the outside shooting of Sarunas Jasikevicius, who scored 20 points, and Rodney Elliott, who added 16, to overcome Illinois' muscular play.
Maryland (21-10) led by as many as 13 points in the first half and 41-29 early in the second half. But the brawny Illini (23-10) worked their way back to tie the game for the first time 49-49 with 7:36 to go, then took their first lead on Kevin Turner's 3-pointer.
Maryland tied it and retook the lead, but Illinois stayed with the Terps and tied it three more times - on a jumper and another 3-pointer by Turner, and a short jumper by Jarrod Gee that made it 61-61 with 56 seconds left.
Gee, who scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, did a masterful job in containing the 6-10 Ekezie, 2 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier. But Ekezie's free-throw shooting down the stretch, including two with 36 seconds left and another pair with 16 seconds to go, sealed the victory.
Matt Kovarik's final free throws with seven seconds left gave Maryland the
last six points of the game.