The Big Ten only had one game on Friday, but it was a huge one in Champaign between ranked Illinois and Maryland teams. The game took some dramatic turns during the course of the evening.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Night:
-No. 9 Maryland Terrapins 75, No. 20 Illinois Fighting Illini 66
As noted above, this was a huge matchup for both sides. Not only because it featured two ranked teams, but also because the two teams were battling for the top spot in the Big Ten standings heading into a crucial point in the system. Add in a packed house for Illinois and there was plenty to be excited about.
Early on, Illinois was in control after a hot start and some big plays from Ayo Dosunmu. The catalyst was an 18-3 Illini run early in the game. However, Maryland gradually battled back as the first half concluded and were able to keep things tight at the break. And in the second half, it was all Terps. The team came roaring out of the gate and never looked back, finishing with a 75-66 road win over Illinois.
Obviously, this is a huge win for a Maryland team that’s been playing really well over the last few weeks. The Terps had won five in a row coming into this game, but many wondered how that would hold up on the road against better opponents. Well, fans got their answer on Friday as Maryland went on the road and beat a ranked Illinois team. The Terps are now 19-4 overall and sit atop the Big Ten standings.
For Illinois, fans are certainly going to be disappointed about how this one finished. The Illini had a chance to score a win over a top 10 team and take control of the Big Ten. Instead, the team lost its second game in a row and fell to 16-7 overall. Illinois will also now have to face the challenge of going into a brutal-three game stretch against Michigan State, Rutgers, and Penn State off a losing streak. Not exactly exciting news.
Maryland will now prepare for a home game against a struggling Nebraska team next Tuesday. Meanwhile, Illinois will get back into action on Tuesday at home against Michigan State.