Anthony Cowan rescued third-ranked Maryland with four of his 20 points in the final 19 seconds as the Terrapins survived an upset bid from Big Ten rival Illinois, winning 59-58 on Saturday night in College Park, Md.
Cowan's deep 3-pointer with 19 seconds remaining tied the game at 58, and then Cowan stripped the ball from a driving Andres Feliz and was fouled with 2.1 seconds left. He hit the first free throw to give the Terrapins (9-0, 1-0 Big Ten) their first lead since early in the game.
Trent Frazier led the Illini (6-3, 0-1) with 13 points.
Illinois led by as many as 15 points early in the second half, but the Terrapins' Jalen Smith hit a 3-pointer at 2:36 to cut the lead to 57-53. Freshman Donta Scott scored inside on the next possession to put Maryland within two with 1:46 to play. Frazier hit 1 of 2 free throws to slow Maryland's momentum and setting the stage for the frantic finish.
Smith had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Maryland, and Scott's score provided the only points from a Terrapins bench that had been a strength all season. The Illini got 18 bench points but were limited to just 6-of-22 shooting in the second half.
Illinois, inspired after Monday's 81-79 home loss to Miami when it rallied from 27 down, came out strong and nearly handed the Terrapins a rare home court loss in the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams. Maryland is 36-6 at Xfinity Center the last two-plus seasons.
As has been their custom much of this season, the Terrapins started slowly, missing 12 of their first 14 shots and trailing 18-5 at 11:41 when Illinois freshman Kofi Cockburn got a tip-in as part of a 16-2 run.
Smith ended a four-minute, 36-second Maryland drought with a 3-pointer at 11:34. The Terrapins closed to within six, but the Illini pushed the lead to 39-25 at the half on back-to-back scores from Feliz.
Feliz came off the bench to score 10 of his 11 points in the opening 20 minutes. It was Maryland's largest deficit at the half this season.
The Terrapins struggled shooting much of the day, hitting just 21 of 63 (33.3 percent) overall and 8 of 31 (25.8 percent) from 3-point range.
--Field Level Media