Kofi-less Illini suffer 81-65 upset at Maryland

IlliniGuys Staff

January 21, 2022

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Alfonso Plummer scored 18 points, but only one in the final 19:30 of the game as the offense for the 17th ranked Illini went cold, leading to an 81-65 upset by Maryland.

The loss snaps a six-game road winning streak in the Big Ten and a nine-game success run away from home against Big Ten opponents.  It's also Illinois' worst conference loss since a 76-56 defeat at Michigan State in January, 2020.

Illinois (13-5, 6-2) was playing without its All-American center Kofi Cockburn, who didn't make the trip from Champaign Thursday afternoon.  The Illini are now 2-2 in games the 7-foot junior has missed this season.

The Illini had a 56-52 lead after Plummer, the nation's leading free throw shooter at 98 percent, hit one of two free throws. But Illinois hit just three of 14 from the field in the final 9:41 of the game, including missing eight of their last nine three-point attempts.

That's when Donta Scott took over.  He keyed a 22-9 Terrapins run with 13 points of his own.  Scott ended up scoring 15 of his game-high 25 points in the second half.

Jacob Grandison added 14 points and Trent Frazier scored 13 for the Illini.

Coupled with the home loss to #4 Purdue on Monday, it's the first time Illinois has lost back to back Big Ten games in the past calendar year, going back to consecutive home losses to Maryland and Ohio State in January 2021.  It also marks the worst Big Ten loss by a ranked Illinois team to an unranked conference opponent since Wisconsin beat the 12th ranked Illinois 95-70 in January, 2013.

Illinois has never beaten Maryland (10-9, 2-6) in College Park since the Terps joined the Big Ten in 2014.  Their last win at Xfinity Center came in November, 2011 as part of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge.

Illinois returns to action Tuesday night when they host Michigan State at State Farm Center (6pm, ESPN2).

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