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Terps Falter Again Late, Drop Another Must Win Game to Illinois, 85-80

The Terps Had Another Must Win Game Against Illinois Slip Away in the Second Half

Story By: Andrew Lang

Photos By: Sol Tucker

College Park, MD–

The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team entered this game with heavy hearts after learning of the passing of iconic coach Lefty Driesell earlier that morning. The team had a pregame tribute for Driesell as well as the team wore their throwback uniforms that dated back to Driesell’s era from the 1970’s to the 80’s. Many of Driesell’s ex-players were in attendance, and unfortunately, they saw their Terps narrowly lose to 14th ranked Illinois.

Prior to the game, during an extended moment of silence, the nearly 18,000 fans and former Terps players in attendance held up the V sign with their fingers in the air, a tribute to Driesell’s signature “victory sign” that he would raise throughout his decorated coaching career. We remember when Driesell said he would turn Maryland into the UCLA of the East.

While it was pre-planned to have the 1984 Maryland squad that Driesell coached to an ACC championship in attendance and honored at halftime, it was a wonderful coincidence as many said it allowed them to pay their respects to Driesell and fallen teammate, the great Len Bias who could have been the greatest ever. He died just after he was drafted. But Driesell lived a full life to 92, his legacy will always be a part of Maryland.

The Terps had a tie game with a chance to win late in this contest but missed too many points in the paint. They drop to 14-12 on the season and 6-9 in the Big-Ten. Maryland had a great chance to grab a signature win this season. On this night, Xfinity Center was rocking with a raucous crowd that filled the Terps home court. The student section was packed for this one. As usual, the students were berating the refs for several calls they didn’t agree with. Coach Kevin Willard clearly agreed with the students a few times as he argued with the refs to no avail.

As normal, Jahmir Young and Julian Reese led the Terps scoring without enough points from their teammates except Donta Scott stepped up big in this one and scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to help Maryland attenpt a comeback win.

While Illinois had a 48.0% field goal percentage, the Terrapins finished at 41.3%. That right there says it all. Both teams were clutch from the foul line shooting, where Young was a perfect 11-for-11 to lead all scorers with 28 points, and Reese added 18 points and 11 rebounds for his 14th double-double of the season, but the Terps made just 4 of 18 three-pointers. Here’s part of the difference, Young missed 15 shots from the floor going 8-for-23 which is only 34.8%. Credit Illinois for consistently staying in the guard’s face, but Young’s teammates didn’t get open at key times where a double-teamed Young could dish enough perfected assists.

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