Maryland Crumbles Late at Wisconsin 56-54
A Nightmare Finish To a Sloppy Game
Following a drop in national rankings all the way down to 17th in the most recent AP poll due to their loss against Iowa, the Terrapins sought redemption against yet another unranked B1G foe in the Wisconsin Badgers.
To the surprise of many, UMD would score first here, as Jalen Smith and Cowan connected for back-to-back jumpers. After this little burst in the first minute of play, the Terps would then settle back into that patented slow start, going scoreless for the next 4 minutes.
The balance of the first half was played out fairly standard to the 2019/2020 used script by Maryland all year, trying to close the deficit their slow start created. Wisconsin gained a lead that would hold for the remainder of the first half, but Maryland would keep within striking distance, in a range of 5-7 points during this stretch. It was 30-25 Badgers at the break.
In the second half, Maryland quickly closed the gap and then took the lead. At times the Terps were up 5 on Wiscy. The Badgers would not go away and Maryland could not finish the habitually pesky Badgers. Tonight’s affair boiled down to the final 15 seconds, in which a catastrophe would strike UMD in the most crucial situation.
Following a turnover by Badger guard Brad Davidson with 0:13 left on the clock and UMD up 54-53, the Terps would have to inbound and start a possession in which Wisconsin would clearly have to foul and pray for UMD to miss free throws.
However, was not how this case played out, as you would imagine with this team over the past years. On the inbound, Darryl Morsell forced a pass to a tightly guarded Anthony Cowan which was promptly knocked away, yet, before it went out of bounds, Brad Davison would launch the ball into the legs of Morsell, still on the baseline, and give the Badgers back possession with 12 seconds left. It would only get worse as Davison would then nail a 3 pointer off of a double screen to put Wisconsin up 2 with 0:10 left in regulation. On Maryland’s following drive, Cowan would miss a deep three and Ayala would heave up one last prayer of a shot that fell way short of the rim.
Maryland is now 0-4 in true road games following this last second slip up, taking their record to 13-4 as they travel back home to host the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday, January 18th.
Notable Statlines, The Good and The Not So Good:
Jalen Smith-In what was a repeat of their previous game, Smith was again the leading scorer tonight. Exploding for 18 points on 7-11 shooting, he looks like a guard the way he fires off shots confidently. Smith would also use his size to take home 9 rebounds, 5 of which being offensive. While Smith outscoring Cowan isn’t what should be expected every night, it has been a common trait of the last few stretches of road games.
The Not So Good:
The entirety of that final minute of play-In what was their largest choke of the year, Maryland essentially tossed away a nearly guaranteed victory through a poor inbound play. Turgeon just could not draw up a way to get the ball down the court.
The turnovers-Maryland has struggled with limiting their turnovers for the entire year, a trend that continued tonight as they gave up the ball 14 times to Wisconsin’s 7. In a game that was decided by two points over the final minute of play, it’s hard not to see an outcome where less Terp turnovers made up the difference in this game. These are sloppy, solvable, and inexcusable mistakes that just keep continuing to rear their ugly heads in crucial runs. If UMD plans on even sniffing the deeper rounds of NCAA tournament play, there is no way this sloppy play can continue.
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