Maryland didn't exactly show its strength early against a struggling Illinois team. But going 10-for-14 from 3-point range after halftime will fix things in a hurry.
The 14th-ranked Terps' 3-point barrage was part of an outstanding offensive performance over the final 20 minutes, as they shot 66.7 percent in the second half en route to an 81-55 rout of the Fighting Illini on Thursday night in College Park.
Maryland led Illinois by 10 at the half, but neither team had much success offensively over the first 20 minutes. The Terps were just 4-for-12 from 3 and shot 44.4 percent from the field, numbers the Illini would've been real happy with considering they were 1-for-7 from 3 and shot just 34.6 percent from the field. Illinois was carried by the unlikely production of big man Maverick Morgan, who scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half alone. Melo Trimble and Jared Nickens combined for 15 points in the first half for Maryland.
But the Terps exploded out of the break. Three straight triples from Trimble, Jake Layman and Nickens turned an eight-point lead into a 17-point lead just a little more than four minutes into the half. Then with about 11 minutes to play, the Terps burst out on an 11-0 run — Trimble accounting for six of those points and Layman hitting another 3 — to grow the lead out to 22. The lead only got bigger as Maryland's 3s kept falling, at one point hitting 31 before the game ended with the margin at 26.
[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Fighting Illini gear right here]
Trimble, Layman and Robert Carter each scored in double figures in the second half alone. The Terps finished shooting 55.6 percent from the field, and their 14 made 3s were a season high. They also out-rebounded the Illini by 10 and held sizable margins in bench points and points in the paint.
Trimble and Layman each finished with 18 points, combining for 15 rebounds. Carter and Nickens each scored 14 points in the game, Nickens leading everyone with four made 3-pointers.
The Illini picked things up in the second half, too, raising their final shooting figure to 38.6 percent. Morgan ended with a career-high 21 points and recorded his first career double-double with 10 rebounds. Jalen Coleman-Lands scored 11 points, hitting a trio of 3s. Malcolm Hill finished with 10 points.
Illinois has dropped three of its last four games and watched its record fall to 13-17 overall and 5-12 in Big Ten play. The Illini wrap up their regular-season schedule with a trip to Penn State on Sunday.
Maryland, meanwhile, improved to 24-6 overall and 12-5 in conference play with the win. The Terps' final regular-season game comes Sunday at Indiana.