PUERTO AVENTURAS, Mexico (AP) -- Maryland is getting used to playing from behind in the second half.
Rasheed Sulaimon scored 16 points and Melo Trimble had 15 to help No. 2 Maryland beat Illinois State 77-66 on Tuesday night in the Cancun Challenge.
With the game tied at 62, back-to-back 3-pointers by Jared Nickens and Sulaimon gave the Terrapins (4-0) a six-point cushion 3:45 left.
"Opponents are coming after us. We played well today. We weren't great at all times, but that's a tough matchup and you have to give them credit," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "It was loud, hard to communicate with the players, but we got it done."
Maryland struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 2 for 18 before Nickens and Sulaimon converted. Jake Layman, who had 12 points, made another late 3 to seal the victory.
"It is unsettling because we have good shooters," Turgeon said of the poor shooting effort. "Maybe the pace of the game had something to do with it, because that was a tremendous pace. I just knew if we hit a couple, we would pull away, and we finally did.
The Redbirds (2-3) tried to rally, but they were stifled by too many turnovers (17).
"It's a hard matchup for us," Turgeon said. "We're getting better at those kind of games. They were faster at almost every position than we were."
One key to Maryland's win was the alert play of reserve Damonte Dodd, who scored 13 points and added three blocked shots. Dodd, whose playing time increased when freshman center Diamond Stone got into foul trouble, converted four dunks off alley-lop passes in the second half, two from Trimble and two from Robert Carter.
MiKyle McIntosh scored 17 points and Paris Lee added 15 for Illinois State. Lee had a stellar first half with 11 points and four steals, but he didn't score in the second half until there was 4:50 to go.
Turgeon complimented Lee's efforts, and then highlighted his own guard play, with Trimble and Sulaimon providing calm and composure when the team was in trouble.
"I think Rasheed and Melo have a chance to be the best backcourt in the country," Turgeon said. "As they grow together defensively and share the basketball ... they're the reason we are winning these close games."
Illinois State put a serious scare into Maryland with 7:13 to go, when Justin McCloud hit a 3-pointer and was fouled, making it 57-52 for the Redbirds. McCloud missed the free throw and then his 3-point shot the next time down the floor rattled out, which gave Maryland a chance to recover. ... Illinois State only had seven assists on 23 made shots. ... The Terrapins block nine shots.
Maryland: plays Rhode Island for the Riviera Division championship.
Illinois State: will face TCU in the consolation game.