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Maryland-Illinois final score: 3 things we learned from the Terps' 64-57 loss

The Terps couldn't shoot, and Illinois used a second-half burst to sail past them.

Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

Illinois rode a staggering second-half run to a win over the 11th-ranked Maryland men's basketball team on Wednesday, stalling the Terrapins' seven-game winning streak and handing them their first-ever Big Ten loss, 64-57, in Champaign.

The Illini opened the second-half on an 20-3 run, shifting what had been a tight contest into their favor and never looking back. With guard Rayvonte Rice out with an injury, forward Malcolm Hill starred for Illinois, dropping 28 points on Maryland with a mix of inside and outside dominance. Center Nnana Egwu contributed 11 points and nine rebounds.

Maryland's best players struggled for most of the night. Melo Trimble, Dez Wells and Jake Layman combined for only 33 points, a chunk of them with the outcome already decided, while their team turned over the ball 10 times to Illinois's seven. The Terps (14-2, 2-1 Big Ten) shot a tough 36.5 percent from the field and 55.6 percent on foul shots, leaving them with little answer when Illinois exploded out of the halftime gate.

Illinois played Maryland tightly through the first half. Jake Layman went to the bench with two fouls before two minutes had wound off the clock, and the Terps played the rest of the half without him. In Layman's absence, Illini power forward Malcolm Hill scored 10 points in the opening frame, and the Terrapins only shot 37 percent from the field  – comparatively solid, albeit, to the Illini's 29 percent showing. Despite missing Layman and not kicking into high gear offensively, Maryland entered the second half with a two-point lead.

Things didn't get hairy for Maryland until the start of the second half. Illinois started the half on its ridiculous run, flipping a 28-26 halftime deficit to a 46-31 lead in a matter of minutes. Maryland stopped making any kind of shot, and Illinois appeared to be drilling them without consciousness for the better part of a 10-minute stretch. Illinois never totally blew Maryland out from there, but the Terps couldn't make a full dent after limping through the half's opening minutes.

Three things we learned

1. Shots, shots, shots. Maryland is ordinarily a good shooting team. Not so in this particular game. The Terps shot just 36.5 percent from the field overall, and that was inflated by some baskets in what amounted to garbage time. From the foul line – where Maryland usually shoots often and connects at a strong clip – the Terps struggled, shooting a paltry 55.6 percent on just 18 attempts. Melo Trimble, who's drawn fouls and made his free throws at equally prodigious rates this season, didn't get to the line at all until 25 seconds remained in the game. Maryland normally makes 75 percent of its free throws. It made slightly more than half in this one. Shooting is a volatile thing, and Maryland didn't do it well Wednesday. Illinois wasn't great on the whole (posting an almost identical percentage), but the Terps didn't have the same benefit of a ridiculous offensive run to put them over the top.

2. Layman on, Layman off. With Maryland's junior forward on the bench with foul trouble for 18 of 20 first-half minutes, the Terps had noticeable problems on offense and defense. Hill, Layman's match at power forward, scored 10 points in his counterpart's absence. Maryland shot 6-of-16 on two-pointers in the first half, while Layman (who entered shooting a team-best 64.2 percent on twos) sat and watched it all unfold. The Terps entered the game shooting an excellent 52.7 percent from inside the arc, then shot 37.5 percent from there in a mostly Layman-less first half. Obviously, for the entire Maryland team, things didn't exactly get better in the final 20 minutes. But the first 20 were a good illustration of what Maryland misses when Layman isn't on the court.

3. Maryland will get everyone's best look. This is ostensibly a good thing for the growth of the Maryland program and all its young players, but it'll be a challenge for as long as the Terps sit near their current level. Maryland entered the game effectively as a top-10 team, and that ranking makes them a serious target for every opponent they meet. Especially in road Big Ten environments, teams simply aren't going to open games flat against them. Minnesota showed this at XFINITY Center last weekend, keeping things tight until after halftime. On Wednesday, Illinois did much more than that.

The Terps will again seek their 15th win of the season at Purdue on Saturday.