In what turned out to be the exact opposite of their Friday night win over Indiana, No. 19 Maryland (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten) defeated Wisconsin (11-6, 3-3 Big Ten), 64-60, after narrowly avoiding a disastrous second-half comeback from the Badgers to win its sixth-straight game.
Mark Turgeon could not have asked for a better first half from his team. The Terps jumped out to an early 29-12 lead in the first half and they were clicking on all cylinders during the first fifteen minutes.
With 5:56 left in the half Maryland was 4-of-6 from behind the arc and they had assisted on five of their nine made baskets.
After that, there was much more to be desired from Maryland. Without scoring in the final four minutes of the half, the Terps went into the break with a 33-15 lead.
The struggles Maryland saw at the end of the first half followed them into the second half. Maryland did a good job of holding the Badgers off until they went cold with about 11 minutes left in the game.
During the final 11 minutes, Maryland only made one field goal and it was one of their biggest shots all year.
After Wisconsin took a 60-59 lead on a Brad Davison three with 2:01 left, Maryland had seemed to lose their lead and all of hope of holding on.
Cowan would then miss a layup and Wisconsin had a chance to take an even larger lead. Wisconsin’s Nate Reuvers had a wide open look, but missed and Maryland had a chance.
During their next possession, as the shot clock is winding down, Cowan took one of his patented deep threes and it fell, giving Maryland a 62-60 lead with 44 seconds.
“Those are the ones he makes,” Turgeon said, “He makes them. It was terrific.”
Reuvers then had another wide-open look at three to try and give Wisconsin a 63-62 lead, but he could not get it to fall.
Cowan would then grab the rebound, make both free throws after being fouled and Maryland held onto win 64-60.
“It wasn’t like it was my first time with the ball and six seconds [left on the shot clock],” Cowan said. “Just make a play. I knew we were down one, saw the defender sag off a little bit, so I just pulled up.”
One reason Wisconsin was able to climb back into this game was Bruno Fernando’s foul trouble. With 9:18 left in the second half, Fernando picked up his fourth foul on a charge and everything seemed to stall for the Terps after.
“We play a lot through Bruno and we didn’t have him,” Turgeon said. “Thank God we had the big lead.”
They failed to make a field goal over those eight minutes and solely relied on Cowan’s ability to draw fouls and make free throws.
If it were not for Cowan’s composure and experience down the stretch, Maryland would have most certainly crumbled under the pressure of Wisconsin’s second-half comeback.
Cowan ended his day with a game-high 21 points, six rebounds and three assists, but most importantly he went 11-13 from the free throw line for the Terps.
Jalen Smith rebounded from his poor performance against Indiana, scoring 11 points and grabbing seven rebounds.
Fernando and Ayala were the only other Terps in double figures tonight, with 10 and 11 points, respectively.
Another huge piece of Maryland’s victory tonight was Ricky Lindo’s performance. Lindo is becoming one of Maryland’s most important players, playing great defense and rebounding well.
Tonight was nothing new from Lindo as he grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and gave Ethan Happ all he could handle on defense. Happ only had 10 points on 5-10 shooting for Wisconsin.
Wisconsin’s savior in the second half was Reuvers. He was 4-8 from behind the arc and was the main catalyst for Wisconsin’s comeback.
Maryland now travels to Columbus to take on Ohio State (12-4, 2-3 Big Ten) this Friday at 6:30 p.m.
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