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MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Illini hits the road to face Terps

Feb. 17—CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois men's basketball team have two choices in today's rematch against Maryland.

"I posed the question to them: What are your options? And Coleman (Hawkins) gave the best answer to that question — Either learn from it or accept it," Illinois head coach Brad Underwood said. "This group is mature and they know how to bounce back.

The Illini lost 76-67 to the Terrapins on Jan. 14 and Underwood said they have worked at lot toward the rematch at College Park, Md.

"We have to understand what we did wrong against these guys and correct it," Underwood said. "They are going to do what they do and defensively they pose challenges because of their size. Kevin (Willard) is a great coach and I hope some of that takes hold that we learned from our loss and do better."

The Illini are coming off a 97-68 win over Michigan on Tuesday at State Farm Center.

"We did a lot of good things against Michigan. I thought we did a nice job of attacking their different defenses," Underwood said. "I thought Coleman was special in the middle of the zone and his ability to spray the ball. I thought our focus on the defense was different than it has been and it started with Terrance (Shannon, Jr.) I also thought we were comfortable with what they were trying to do in the post.

"When you play good offense it eases the pressure on the defense. I thought defensively we did a lot more things with a lot more purpose. All and all, it was a good game. It is a different task with Maryland because they are a very good defensive team. They start very big with (Mady) Traore in the lineup and (Donta) Scott. They are a team that will mix defense and throw different things at you. In my opinion, they have a great player in (Jahmir) Young and we have to do a better job on him then the first game."

The key for the Illini today is focus and for the Illini, it will be on defense.

When you are focused on the defensive side, you have to stay locked in," Underwood said. "We took plays off and we have to find that balance and play through fatigue. The only thing that I didn't like was not getting three loose balls in the first game. We just need to start getting nasty and get the tough plays that win playoff games. We did loose ball drills yesterday and today and we have to come up with those things."

Hawkins only had eight in the first game and Quincy Guerrier had seven. These are totals that Underwood hope is different today.

"He's (Hawkins) very smart and he is one of the most misread people in the country," Underwood said. "He is demonstrative but it is all in the name of competition and I haven't coached many guys who are more competitive than him. You put that with intelligence and his understanding of the game and he finds his way. He does it with positioning and there is a little surprise when he is on the court.

"It doesn't matter if you score 28 or eight, play hard. It is about being dialed in to the scouting report and not blow assignments. We have a lot of guys that can score in a lot of ways. When he (Guerrier) scores, he gives us an unbelievable lift, but sometimes it is not his night. Maryland is a team that is in top 10 of not giving up threes, so you have to get on the glass and do all the other things and in the flow of the offense, things may not come to you early. He leads us in double-doubles and those things definitely helps us."

The game will start at 4:30 p.m. and will be shown on FOX. The game will also be broadcast on the Busey Bank Illinois Sports Network, which includes WDAN-AM 1490 and WDNL-FM 102.1.