No. 5 Wisconsin had a chance to clinch a Big Ten championship on Tuesday night, but a 26-point night by Maryland forward Dez Wells spoiled the party and the Maryland Terps put the champagne on ice in a 59-53 win.
The loss snapped a 10-game win streak by the Badgers and prevented this UW team from taking over sole possession of the best record to start a season.
Maryland’s dynamic duo of Wells and freshman guard Melo Trimble did most of the damage, combining for 42 of the 59 points the Terrapins (23-5, 11-4 Big Ten) scored in the winning effort. Wells did a lot of his damage early on (14 points in the first half), but both Trimble and Wells combined for the death blows to Wisconsin’s furious comeback.
With the game tied at 47-47 Wells made four straight free throws to help inch Maryland to a lead it would never relinquish. In fact, Wells and Trimble would combine 10 of Maryland’s final 12 points in a 12-6 run to close out the contest.
With the Badgers (25-3, 13-2 Big Ten) inching closer to taking a lead in the second half, Trimble scored six of his 16 points in the final five minutes of the game. It included two great drives late in the game — using great body control to make sure Frank Kaminsky couldn’t block a drive to the hoop and blowing past Josh Gasser as the Badgers attempted to get a stop in the final minute of action.
The Badgers countered with Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, who combined for 32 points and 17 rebounds in the loss.
It was a tale of two halves though, as the Badgers couldn’t find a solid shooting effort in the first half to save their lives but would get a bit hotter in the second half.
UW put up a season-low 20 points in the first half on 30 percent shooting.
A lot of Wisconsin’s issues coming from a lack of rhythm and too many three-point shots as a result. The Badgers put up 11 three-point attempts in the first half alone, making just one to put the Badgers up 5-2 early on in the action.
Dekker, Hayes and Kaminsky cominbed to go 0-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first half alone. It was a recipe that went bad for the Badgers to say the least.
Maryland had fewer problems finding it’s confidence on the offensive side of the ball in the half, shooting 54.2 percent from the field and frustrating a Badgers team that wanted to drive but couldn’t on the offensive end of things.
However, Wisconsin found more of a consistent effort in the second half, including a much better effort from three-point range. The Badgers shot 5 of 11 from deep in the second half, and two of those makes were huge in Wisconsin’s comeback attempt.
Wisconsin busted out offensively out of the half, eventually cutting the 11-point Maryland lead down to a 47-47 tie. It looked even better as Sam Dekker stole the ball and looked to have a breakaway and the Badgers’ first lead of the second half.
That’s not what happened though, as Dekker couldn’t gain full control of the ball and eventually it went off his leg and out of bounds on the baseline.
With that fleeting moment the Badgers went from potentially flipping this game to waking up the Terps offense once again. The Terps’ 12-6 run to close out the game following that moment was all the proof one needs.
UW will come home and face Michigan State on Senior Day. Tip is scheduled for 3p.m. at the Kohl Center.