Despite a second half surge from the Terps, Maryland drops to 9-8 with loss against Wisconsin

By Jack Rothenberg

Consistency hasn’t been Maryland’s calling card this season whether from game to game or, as it was in their latest game against the No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers, from half to half. As they have for much of the season, the Terps followed a surprising road win – this one at Minnesota – with yet another disappointing offensive outing at home. Trailing the Badgers by 18 at the half, Maryland couldn’t quite complete a second half u-turn falling a few degrees short of making a complete 180. Maryland made it interesting late, but ultimately drove themselves too far down a dead-end street.

The Terps played strong defense for most of the first half, forcing tough shots and five Wisconsin turnovers that kept the Badgers from blowing the contest open until late in the period. On offense, Maryland just couldn’t find their stride. While they started 2-10 from the floor, Wisconsin put together an 8-0 run opening up a 14-4 lead just seven minutes in resulting in a Maryland timeout. However, the pep talk head coach Mark Turgeon gave during the break didn’t get the team back on track. With 10 minutes left in the half the Terps had only put six points on the board, but due to their defensive effort were only down eight. Sophomore forward Donta Scott was the one bright spot with 10 points in the first half, but no one else could find a rhythm. A 25% shooting half led to a 38-20 deficit at halftime.

After the game, junior guard Aaron Wiggins talked about how the team felt and what they were thinking about at halftime. “Just knowing the way that we are capable of playing, going into the locker room at halftime we all knew that we hadn’t played up to our potential. We knew that we gotta get better on the defensive end and get better shots on the offensive end. I mean it was just a matter of us locking in better,” Wiggins said.

Playing even better defense and having better shot selection is exactly what the Terps did coming out of the break. Maryland opened the half on an 8-0 run, which extended to 20-5 through the first eight minutes and cut the lead to three at 43-40. Wiggins (18 points) helped turn the tide with 16 second half points, but once the team got to within one possession they hit a brick wall. They scored only four points over the next 8 minutes, very reminiscent of the first half, allowing the Badgers to go on a 14-2 run, and revive their double digit lead at the under four minute timeout. The Terps once again threatened late, but didn’t have enough late resulting in the loss.

Following the contest, Scott discussed the frustration of not being able to knock down shots while the Terps are playing quality defense on the other end. “As a basketball player it’s always frustrating when you’re doing all of the right things but just can’t capitalize on the other end. We gotta start the game off the way that we came out of the second half…it’s frustrating but everything starts early,” Scott said. 

Maryland will look to start their next game against the Purdue Boilermakers on Feb. 2 just as they started the second half against the Badgers. This team will need to rely on their defense to keep them in games, but a sub 40% field goal percentage in Big Ten play won’t get it done the majority of the time. 

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