Photo courtesy of UM Terps

Davison’s dagger downs Terps, despite a valiant effort

MADISON, WI- 

After a defensive stop with 13 seconds remaining, it appeared that Maryland would end their three-game road losing streak. Leading 54-53, all they had to do was inbound the ball and make free throws. But Wisconsin guard Brad Davison had other plans. The junior denied Terps point guard Anthony Cowan on the inbounds pass, tapping it off of the inbounder, Darryl Morsell, who was standing out of bounds. 

Possession flipped to Wisconsin, who took a timeout and diagramed a play to get Davison a corner three. Mere feet from where Davison made the defensive play of the game, he calmly drained a three to put the Badgers up two with under 10 seconds remaining. Cowan, who hit some massive shots earlier in the game, dribbled down the court and took a pull-up jumper he’s made numerous times in his career. This time though, he could not get the three to fall and the desired road victory evaded the Terps as they fell 56-54.

“Obviously, I didn’t draw up a good enough play to get the ball inbounds. We had a time-out, we were aware of that. No one called it,” said Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon of the late turnover. “Trying to get the ball to Anthony, so give them credit on that play,”

Entering Tuesday night’s contest, Maryland was looking to put together their first complete game on the road. All things considered, Turgeon’s group did not play a bad first half. The Terps scored the first two buckets off the game to take a 4-0 lead but the Badgers countered with a 9-0 run to make it 9-4.

Anytime the Terps hit a shot to cut the deficit, it seemed like Greg Gard’s well-disciplined squad had the answer. When Aaron Wiggins hit an open corner three to make it 18-15, the Badgers countered with a Nate Reuvers interior bucket. The following possession Anthony Cowan hit a three from the same corner, but Brevin Pritzl came right back with a deep ball of his own to bring the lead back to five.

 Wiggins hit a three to end the half and bring the deficit down to 30-25. The sophomore came off the bench for the first time all season and had an impactful eight-point first half. Juxtaposed to his scoreless outing against Iowa last Friday, this was noticeable improvement.

“(I) just wanted to bounce back, wanting to do whatever I had to do to help my team win,” said Wiggins of his first double-digit scoring game since January 4th against Indiana. “Knowing I didn’t play my best in the last game, I didn’t do anything that contributed to the way to, you know, enhancing our team’s performance.”

Unlike previous road defeats, Maryland delivered the first punch in the second half. A 10-2 run was finished off by a Cowan three and the Terps had their first lead since 17:45 in the first half. The Terps had an answer for all of Wisconsin’s counters and maintained that lead until a Kobe King turnaround gave the Badgers a one point advantage with 2:52 remaining. 

Maryland did not fold. A Wiggins floater was followed by a stop and a Jalen Smith slam to put Maryland up 54-51. However, the Badgers delivered the final blow capped off by the Davison dagger from the right corner that sent the Kohl Center into an eruption.

“We just didn’t guard that out-of-bounds under the way we should guard it,” said Turgeon. “Felt like we were gonna win the game the whole time in the second half.”

Cowan has hit several clutch shots in his illustrious Maryland career, but couldn’t add another memorable shot to that collection. He rose above his defender and got a good look, it just didn’t fall.

I just saw the defender backing up. It’s a shot I usually make. Just try to get to my spot,” said Cowan. “It just didn’t fall for me tonight.”

Even in a crushing defeat, there are positives to take away. Cowan, Wiggins, and Smith played like the dynamic trio they are expected to be. For the first time on the road all season, they had a lead in the second half.

“I think today we played a lot tougher, being on the road. We competed, we came to play. We competed as if we all really wanted to win and in the end you didn’t get the outcome you wanted,” said Wiggins. “But I think in college basketball it’s tough right now. It’s tough to win on the road.”

Maryland will return home for a contest with Purdue on Saturday, but will be visitors for their following two tests. In this league where chaos happens on a nightly basis, every game matters and if the Terps are a lower seed than expected for the Big Ten tournament in March, Davison’s fadeaway three will be one of the reasons why.