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Maryland ends Illinois' long streak at home

Nov 29, 2006 - 2:29 AM CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (Ticker) -- With one of its senior stars missing, a freshman stepped up for Maryland.

Greivis Vasquez scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half as the 19th-ranked Terrapins outlasted Illinois, 72-66, in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Maryland (8-0) snapped Illinois' non-conference home winning streak at 51 games, which was the nation's longest.

With senior center Ekene Ibekwe sitting out the game due to an ankle injury, Vasquez played superbly down the stretch after the Illini (7-1) had fought back from a 15-point first-half deficit and took their biggest lead, 48-43, with 8:55 to play.

Vasquez scored 12 points from that point on, including the biggest play of the game, when he stole a pass and scored on a layup to give Maryland a 65-60 lead with 1:26 remaining.

Osby Bambale and Eric Hayes each hit two free throws in the final minute to wrap up the win for the Terps, who improved to 5-3 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Maryland dominated the early going behind the shooting of Mike Jones, who scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half. Jones hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Terps a 16-4 lead 5 1/2 minutes into the game.

Jones hit his third shot from the arc to give Maryland its biggest lead, 29-14, with 7:24 left, but the Terps went cold from there, scoring just one field goal the remainder of the half.

Meanwhile, Illinois started to exploit the absence of the 6-9 Ibekwe - the team's leading rebounder and third-leading scorer - as forward Warren Carter and center Shaun Pruitt led a closing 14-4 run to slice the deficit to 33-28 at halftime.

The Fighting Illini finally drew even at 39-39 on a 3-pointer by Rich McBride and went ahead, 42-40, when Calvin Brock hit from the arc with 12:19 left.

Pruitt's dunk extended the lead to 48-43 with just under nine minutes remaining, prompting Maryland to call a timeout.

Vasquez then scored the Terps' next eight points to cut the lead to 52-51 and consecutive jumpers from Jones and D.J. Strawberry made it 55-52.

McBride briefly tied it at 55-55 with a 3-pointer, but Jones answered from the arc to put Maryland ahead for good, 58-55, with 4:52 to play.

Vasquez added two free throws and his steal and layup with 1:23 put the Illini away. The Terps shot 72 percent (13-of-18) in the second half.

Pruitt scored 18 points to lead Illinois, which shot 35 percent (24-of-69) and made just 5-of-20 shots from 3-point range.

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