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Maryland storms back to beat Illinois St.: 5 things to know

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Maryland storms back to beat Illinois St.: 5 things to know

Another second-half deficit, another Maryland comeback victory. Despite trailing by five points with seven minutes to play, the Terrapins stormed back to beat Illinois State 77-66 in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge on Tuesday night in Mexico.

Five players scored in double figures, led by Rasheed Sulaimon's 18 points. Melo Trimble had 15 to go along with seven assists. Damonte Dodd was enormous off the bench as a garbage man, cleaning up inside to have 13 points and three blocks.

Here are five things you need to know as the Terrapins advance to face Rhode Island on Wednesday in the tournament's championship game.

1) A very different start

After going down 9-0 to Georgetown and struggling vs. Rider, Maryland got out to an early 10-2 lead vs. Illinois State by being disruptive defensively and hitting shots on the other end of the floor. That gave them some confidence, but Illinois State fought back.

2) Small ball continues to cause issues

Maryland struggles against small lineups. That has been proven through the season’s first three games and persisted on Tuesday night. Missouri Valley teams often use wing players as bigs, which is difficult for traditional bigs like Damonte Dodd or Michal Cekovsky when those wings end up spreading the floor.

In the first half, all three Maryland centers had two fouls by the under-four timeout. Stone had to sit not even three minutes into the game with two fouls.

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3) The turnover problem

Illinois State brought pressure in the first half and it bothered Maryland. Unable to get its offense in a rhythm, Melo Trimble had turnover issues and no secondary ball handler stepped up to take the pressure off of him.

Head coach Mark Turgeon wants to use Jaylen Brantley more, but he still does not seem comfortable in that role. Rasheed Sulaimon had no assists in the first half.

4) Lack of three-point shooting

This Maryland team is built on the foundation from three-point shooters, from Jake Layman to Jared Nickens to Melo Trimble to Rasheed Sulaimon. If there is not a legitimate threat of Maryland making the opponent pay by helping from the perimeter, the offense sputters.

At one point, Maryland was 2-of-18 from three-point range. Head coach Mark Turgeon said in an interview with CBS Sports Network’s Doug Gottlieb after the game that he told the Terrapins to keep shooting.

They did and hit three of the next four to finish the game.

5) A late deficit and a strong push back

Maryland found itself in a familiar spot, down five points with seven minutes to play. From there, they went on a 25-9 run to fight back and close the door.

Illinois State really wanted to get the ball out of Melo Trimble’s hands in the first half. They didn’t do it as much in the second half and he picked them apart.

He laid a pair of perfect passes into the pocket to Damonte Dodd for dunks. He drove and dished to Jared Nickens and Rasheed Sulaimon for a pair of threes that helped to widen the lead down the stretch.

His ability to facilitate, including making a beautiful extra pass to Layman for a final dagger three with about a minute to go, changed the complexion of this game.

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Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland loses two as Justin Jackson declares for NBA Draft, will sign with agent

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland forward Justin Jackson will forgo his final two seasons of college eligibility to seek a career in the NBA.

Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon also says guard Dion Wiley will transfer before playing his senior season.

MORE TERPS: LEFTY DRIESELL IS FINALLY GOING TO ENTER THE HALL OF FAME

Jackson averaged 10.5 points as a freshman before missing most of the 2017-18 season with a shoulder injury.

Jackson says, "After talking with my family and weighing my options, it's my desire to turn my full attention to preparing for a career in professional basketball."

Wiley appeared in 83 career games, playing a backup role on three teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament under Turgeon.

Maryland was 19-13 this season, including 8-10 in the Big Ten, and failed to reach the postseason.

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

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Lefty Driesell to be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame per report

Long-time University of Maryland men’s basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell will finally be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

This is according to NBC Sports Washington contributor Jon Feinstein.

Driesell coached the Terrapins for 17 seasons between 1969-86. While guiding the program to eight NCAA Tournament appearances and an NIT Championship, Driesell transformed Maryland into a legitimate force in college basketball.

When hired by the Terps, Driesell famously announced that he wanted to turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East.” After only four seasons he had made it to two ACC Championship Games and his first Elite Eight appearance. His success opened the door not only for the program but the school to compete at the highest levels of competition.

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Maryland made it as high as the Elite Eight twice under the reign of Driesell. He was named ACC Coach of the Year twice and won one ACC Tournament Championship in 1984. At the time of his NIT Championship with the Terps in 1972, the NIT was held in a similar regard to the NCAA Tournament.

He is second on Maryland’s all-time wins list (348), behind Gary Williams’ 461. Driesell however, still holds the best win percentage of all Maryland coaches with 68.6 win percentage.

After Maryland, the former Duke basketball coached at James Madison for just short of a decade and ended his coaching days at Georgia State. Driesell also coached at Davidson before taking the Maryland job to combine for over 40 seasons at the head of a Division I basketball program.

The 86-year-old was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2007. He also the namesake for the NCAA’s best defensive player of the year award, which was first awarded in 2010.

The official announcement from the Naismith Hall of Fame will be during the Final Four on Saturday, March 31.

WANT MORE HOOPS?  Listen below as Troy Machir and Chick Hernandez discuss Lefty Driesell's legacy in the area and why the Terps icon was on the outside of the Hall of Fame for so long.