The Wisconsin Badgers erased a 10-point halftime deficit, but couldn’t find a way to win as the Maryland Terrapins snapped a three-game losing streak with a 68-63 victory at the Xfinity Center on Sunday afternoon.
Point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. led all players with 23 points and Kevin Huerter came up big late to help out with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists in the win for Maryland.
Ethan Happ paced the Badgers with 18 points and 9 rebounds. He was joined in double figures by Nathan Reuvers (13), Brad Davison (12) and Aleem Ford (12) in the losing effort.
Ultimately, the Badgers inexperience in close games haunted them, while Maryland finally found a way to win a close one.
UW has made a habit out of being cold from the start of games, but that wasn’t the case on Sunday in College Park. It seemed like the insertion of freshman Aleem Ford in to the starting lineup in place of Brevin Pritzl was the spark the Badgers needed.
Wisconsin jumped out to an early 11-4 lead as Maryland shot just 1 of 7 from the field and 0 of 5 from beyond the arc.
Aleem Ford opened the scoring with a triple, while Brad Davison and Nate Reuvers also hit early three-pointers to help Wisconsin earn the 11-4 lead.
Maryland would make its own run later in the half though, as UW’s lead never went beyond the 18-11 lead it had after Happ completed an old-fashioned three-point play with 9:24 to play in the first half.
However, that was the end to the fun for the Badgers in the first half. UW managed just five more points the rest of the way and allowed Maryland to end the half on an 11-0 run to take a 33-23 lead in to halftime.
The run had an exclamation point on it, as Anthony Cowan picked off a Brevin Pritzl pass with just seconds left in the half and laid it in for an easy transition bucket. It was also the last time we saw Pritzl in this game.
Wisconsin came out hot to start the second half, working hard down low and getting shot to fall once again. It led to a 21-9 start to the half that saw Wisconsin earn its first lead (44-42) since the first half with just 9:24 to play in the game.
Maryland responded after that big run though and the two teams battled for the lead back-and-forth. There were 5 lead changes in a 1:15 stretch following UW’s run.
The game remained tight the rest of the way, as the two teams traded big bucket after big bucket. However, Wisconsin was the one that blinked at the end.
Wisconsin came back from a 5-point deficit with 3:36 to play, as Aleem Ford hit his fourth three-pointer of the game to tie it at 60-60 with just 2:39 to play.
Huerter broke the tie with a clutch jumper with 1:26 to play, while the Badgers missed their first two shots after tying the game up and gave away any advantage it could’ve had after Huerter followed that up with a scoop and score to make it 64-60 with 27 seconds left to play.
UW took a bit too much time off the clock, but Davison rose for a tough three-pointer and pulled the Badgers back within one point. Anthony Cowan made a pair of free throws for a 66-63 lead with 9.8 seconds to play.
Davison took the inbounds after Cowan’s made free throws, but chose to drive to the basket down three and had his shot blocked.
It was a sad ending to a game for a team on a sad streak, as the Badgers have now lost five in a row and eight of their last nine.
UW will stay on the road to take on the last place Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday night. Tip is scheduled for 8pm and can be seen on BTN.