The University of Illinois literally put the ‘Fight’ in the “Fighting Illini” to the test in a thrilling 78-67 victory over No 13 Maryland in a thriller at Madison Square Garden.
In a game that saw the game tied three times and had six lead changes, the Terps of Maryland the momentum and a 34-30 lead heading into the locker room. It was an electric atmosphere at The Garden, as a sea of red embraced the Garden Floor and 7,239 passionate fans fought for each possession on the floor.
Illinois made some huge adjustments in the Second Half of the game, turning up the pressure with a ‘Zone Offense’ and it eventually earned them a huge victory at the World’s Most Famous Arena. How big of a victory was it, Illinois hasn’t won a Big Ten road game against a ranked opponent since March 2014.
“It was a great character win for our basketball team, and we beat an excellent basketball team, and an extremely well coached one. To go through the kind of year we had, and guys show up every day, they continue to work, they continue to buy in, and to see Tevian Jones, Andres Feliz, Alan Griffin, Adonis De La Rosa, to see those guys contribute the way they did brings a smile to my face,” said Head Coach Brad Underwood on the game. “It is about that locker room today. Yeah, we executed, we made some shots, but to me it is about perseverance and showing up and competing. We did that today and we were fortunate enough to beat a very good basketball team.”
The Illini have had two freshmen leading them this season, which is a first in program history, as Ayo Dosunmu and Giorgi Bezhanishvili have made a huge impact in one of the toughest leagues in the NCAA.
Dosunmu made an impact for his squad tonight finishing with 20 points and six assists, fans of professional basketball should keep an eye out for this amazing player as he stands at 6-5, was able to lead Team USA to a gold medal in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in June and has put up some amazing numbers so far in his time with the team.
Tevian Jones recorded 18 points and Andres Feliz had 15 points to round out the scoring for the Fighting Illini.
As for Maryland, who has all the tools, talent and toughness to advance far into any tournament they play in had three players in double-digit scoring Bruno Fernando had 19 points, while Anthony Cowan had 18 points and Jalen Smith had 11 points to help lead the way in a thrilling game. Turnovers were the keys to the Terps loss, as the team gave the ball up 21 times, that is something that you cannot do in any conference, especially one as tough as the Big Ten.
The Big Ten has always had a great reputation of having some very tough teams and this year it is no different. Coach Underwood had this to say on the league, “There is a great chance any team can make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament. This league is unbelievable. I’ve never been a part of a league where every mistake you make, the other team is good enough to capitalize on it and they do.”
New Yorkers making an Impact:
The University of Illinois had several New Yorkers making an Impact for the team playing in one of the Cities most historic venues Alan Griffin, Adonis De La Rosa both made a positive showing for the team. Griffin was able to record three points, while De La Rosa used his size and pretense to guard what was a very tough Maryland squad.
What is Next
For the University of Illinois, they will be traveling to Minnesota to take on the Gophers (14-5, 4-4 Big Ten) on Wednesday night with the tipoff scheduled for 8:00 p.m. As for Maryland they will take on Northwestern on Tuesday for a 7:00 p.m. tip-off.
1495 Sports is proud to bring the following videos from the event:
Ayo Dosunmu and Tevian Jones University of Illinois Postgame Presser 1/26
Brad Underwood University of Illinois Head Coach:
Mark Turgeon Maryland Men’s Basketball Head Coach:
For more information on the University Of Illinois fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:
For more information on the Maryland Athletics Departments fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:
For more information on Madison Square Garden fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: