Sophomore guard Kevin Huerter approached the free throw line in the Maryland Terrapins’ opening round of the Big Ten Tournament against Wisconsin with nine ticks left on the clock. His team’s postseason run rested on his shoulders.
Maryland had come back from a six point hole early in the second half and had since tied the score three times in last four minutes of the game.
With Huerter at the free throw line, the team was hoping to tie for a fourth time. But on Huerter’s first shot rattled in and out of the hoop.
Twenty seconds later, redshirt junior Dion Wiley turned over the ball, leading to made two free throw shots from the Badgers and putting Maryland in a five-point deficit with less than one second left.
Maryland ultimately lost to the Badgers, 59-54, on the following possession, and once again the Terps dropped a game in which it had plenty of chances to win.
Huerter led all scorers with 20 points to go with three rebounds and a pair of assists. Fellow sophomore guard Anthony Cowan added 16 points, 12 of which came in the first half, while freshman forward Bruno Fernando scored 12.
Outside of the trio of Huerter, Fernando and Cowan, the Terps were devoid of any offensive production. The six other Maryland players who stepped on the court scored a combined six points on just 12 shot attempts.
Wisconsin’s starting five, however, rolled throughout the game. The Badgers had four players in double figures who shot a combined 41 percent from the field. Ethan Happ led the team with 14 points, while Khalil Iverson finished with 11 points, including the two free throws at the end of the game that put Maryland away for good.
Maryland was on the lucky side the last time the two teams played in the Xfinity Center on Feb. 4, but Wisconsin has since learned from its mistakes that eventually lost them the first game. After Huerter tied the score 53-53 on a jumper with 83 seconds left, the Badgers kept their possession alive after grabbing the rebound on two botched 3-point attempts for Brevin Pritzl to retake the lead with a layup.
Wisconsin’s decision paid off, because Maryland worked the clock down to nine seconds before Huerter was fouled and sent to the line for the final time.
Wisconsin will now advance to play Michigan State tomorrow at noon.
The Terps held the lead just once in the game, and it came near the beginning of the first half on a jump shot from Huerter that put the team up 8-7. The Badgers responded with a 6-2 run, putting them back up 13-8 before the first media timeout.
Maryland stayed close with Wisconsin in the first half but still faced a 28-26 deficit at halftime. The Badgers increased their lead to start the second half, putting them up 37-31. Maryland quickly fought back to bring the score within two but could not take the lead.
Maryland will now wait for a berth in the NIT a week from Sunday.