- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

ILLINOIS 90, MARYLAND 80

LAHAINA, Hawaii The Maryland basketball team went to Maui and forgot its boards.

So instead of surfing into the Maui Invitational championship, the Terps lost to No. 8 Illinois 90-80. The Illini outrebounded the sixth-ranked Terps by 18 16 in the second half alone. Illinois finished with 27 offensive rebounds, routinely earning second and third shots as they pounded their way into tonight's championship game.

"We didn't rebound," said Gary Williams, whose team will face the loser of the game between top-ranked Arizona and Dayton in the today's consolation game. "That was the game right there. We gave them second shots every time we got close."

Illinois (3-0) is just as big, deep and athletic as the Terps (1-1) and eventually wore down Maryland in a physical battle. Sophomore guard Frank Williams led the way with 21 points and seven rebounds as the Illini trailed by two at halftime before dominating the second half. Sergio McClain, a 6-foot-4 swingman, had 10 rebounds and was one of four Illini with at least eight boards.

It was quite a change from a night earlier, when the Terps overpowered Louisville in an impressive opener. The sequel was a dud. Terence Morris (13 points, six rebounds) and Lonny Baxter (17 points, 8 rebounds) didn't get the ball enough on the inside and Maryland was embarrassed on the glass 55-37.

"Everybody was aware of Frank Williams," said Maryland swingman Byron Mouton, who grabbed two rebounds in 24 minutes. "We weren't aware of their other big men. We have to go home to work on our rebounding skills."

Illinois used an 11-2 run early in the second half to build a 49-41 lead, mainly with easy layups, as Maryland's interior defense broke down. A putback by Williams gave the Illini the lead for good at 40-39. A layup by Marcus Griffin (19 points, eight rebounds) off an outlet pass from Williams made it an eight-point margin. The Terps never got closer than three after that.

Maryland cut it to 55-52 on a difficult tip-in midway through the second half, but Illinois responded with a 15-5 run, thanks to offensive rebounds, to put the game away. An inside basket by Robert Archibald started the stretch. A short jumper by Griffin gave the Illini a 70-57 lead.

Juan Dixon had 14 points for the Terps, who couldn't match Illinois' intensity. The Illini put five players in double figures, including Cory Bradford (14 points), Brian Cook (11 points, nine rebounds) and McClain (10 points).

The two teams sparred in the first half, with Maryland taking a 35-33 lead into halftime thanks to two free throws by Blake with one second left. The Terps led despite having 10 turnovers and making only six of 12 free throws. They were ahead because their pressure defense held the Illini to 34.5 percent shooting.

Drew Nicholas led Maryland back after it trailed 18-12 early. The reserve point guard scored five straight points to start a 17-7 run. The 6-3 sophomore hit a 3-pointer to begin the rally and followed that up with a drive through the zone defense for a layup. Steve Blake's 3-pointer from the left corner regained the lead for the Terps at 26-25.

Illinois scored five straight to take a 33-29 lead before Maryland scored the final five points of the half on a Tahj Holden 3-pointer and Blake's free throws.

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