Before Mark Turgeon departed for the six-day-long break, he said he “felt great” about his team despite having to crusade a comeback in five of their 12 wins.
Tuesday night justified Turgeon’s words. Behind Melo Trimble’s team-high 20 points (7-of-10 shooting) Maryland cruised past Illinois in their conference-opener at the Xfinity Center, 84-59.
The Terrapins (13-1) jumped out to an early 15-4 lead seven minutes and 17 seconds into regulation courtesy of a 9-0 run fueled by a Trimble layup, two Anthony Cowan free throws, an Ivan Bender layup and a 3-ball from Dion Wiley. Maryland led by as many as 17 in the first half.
Jaylen Brantley’s last second 3-pointer to end the first half gave Maryland a 39-23 lead going into the intermission.
Maryland padded its lead to 71-40 off a Trimble layup with seven minutes and one second left in regulation. The 31-point margin was their largest lead of the game.
Cowan added 12 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals. Brantley produced 13 points, five rebounds and three assists off the bench. Justin Jackson pitched in with 12 point on 6-for-10 shooting and four rebounds. L.G. Gill hauled in a team-high rebounds. Dion Wiley converted 3 of 5 attempts from beyond the arc.
Maryland shot 56 percent from the floor (33-for-59) while holding Illinois to 36 percent (21-for-59) and 18 percent from deep (4-for-22).
Forty eight of Maryland’s 84 points came in the paint.
Malcolm Hill paced Illinois with 21 points (6-for-10 shooting, 7-for-8 from the stripe) and seven rebounds.
Maryland plays Nebraska on January 1, 2017.