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Frese to miss Thursday's game, Terps men get rematch with Illinois

Brenda Frese with family after father's passing
Brenda Frese
Posted at 5:28 PM, Jan 20, 2022

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — University of Maryland interim head men’s basketball coach Danny Manning thinks his Terps have to ask themselves what more they each can bring to the floor as they prepare for another one of the Big Ten’s toughest tests.

"When you’re not winning games the way you want to win games or you’re not playing to the level that you feel like you are playing at, there is always going to be some disappointment, if you will," he said. "A lot of it is from an individual point of view, knowing that possibly you can give a little bit more."

Losers of five of their last six games the Maryland men (9-9,1-6) host No. 17 Illinois (13-4,6-1) on Friday. That's the same Illini team that topped the Terps 76-64 a couple weeks ago in Champaign. That's the same Illini team that boasts 7-foot matchup nightmare Kofi Cockburn. The center is averaging 21.1 points per game and leading the Big Ten with 11.8 rebounds per contest.

"Kofi, he is a tough cover. There is no doubt about it. He is one of the best, if not the best big man in the country. We’ve got to make him work," said Manning.

Cockburn had 23 and 18 against Maryland in meeting No. 1. Manning said forwards Julian Reese and Qudus Wahab understand their matchup responsibilities against him better now after facing him earlier this month.

While the Terps men tip-off at Xfinity Center Friday night, the No. 12 Maryland women (12-5, 4-2) are on the road on Thursday evening and they are continuing to play with heavy hearts.

Head coach Brenda Frese will miss Thursday's game at No. 25 Ohio State (13-3, 5-2). She is in Iowa with her family attending funeral services for her father, Bill, who died Sunday following a long battle with prostate cancer. He was 89.

Associate head coach Karen Blair will fill in for Frese on the bench.

"Our job now is to make the Frese family proud," said Blair. "Bill was a guy who packed his lunch pail every day and he went to work. That’s what he did. That’s what he instilled in his children and that’s why Brenda has built this program at Maryland to be a family and around hard work. So, that’s what our focus is going in there, is to honor that legacy, is to do that."

Blair added that the Terps are "playing for something bigger than ourselves".

Follow Shawn Stepner on Twitter @StepnerWMAR and Facebook