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Wisconsin’s second-half comeback thwarted in 64-60 loss to Maryland

The Badgers led by one late but could not hang on.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers fought back from a dreadful first half start, eventually took the lead with about two minutes left, only to have their comeback cut short by Anthony Cowan and the Maryland Terrapins in a 64-60 road loss inside the Xfinity Center on Monday night.

Cowan scored a game-high 21 points, including the go-ahead three with less than a minute remaining, along with six rebounds and three assists for Maryland (15-3, 6-1 Big Ten) in the conference victory.

With redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ in foul trouble during the last 10 minutes of the second half, sophomore forward Nate Reuvers emerged with a career-high 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting with seven rebounds. He connected on four of eight three-point attempts, but had great looks on two shots from deep that did not go in with under a minute remaining.

Happ scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while redshirt sophomore guard D’Mitrik Trice tallied 13 points, four rebounds and five assists. Sophomore guard Brad Davison also contributed 11 points with four assists in the loss for Wisconsin (11-6, 3-3).

Overall, UW shot just 38.3 percent (23-of-60) for the game, 36.7 percent (11-of-30) from three-point range.

Eric Ayala scored 11 points with three three-pointers, while forward Jalen Smith recorded 11 points and seven rebounds in the win. Sophomore forward Bruno Fernando fought off the Wisconsin defense to score 10 points while also registering four rebounds.

Maryland as a team connected on just 34 percent of its field goals (16 of 47) but made 50 percent of its attempts from deep (eight of 16). The Terps also converted on 24 of 29 free throws, including making 18 of 22 in the second half.

Wisconsin struggled immensely in the first half, one that echoed its early January home loss to Minnesota. It shot only 26.9 percent (7-of-26) and did not make a three-pointer in eight attempts in those first 20 minutes while also committing seven turnovers.

The Badgers simply could not get anything going offensively, going for stretches of 6:56 and 4:08 without a point in that first half. For that matter, Maryland did not look necessarily great as well—shooting just 39.3 percent (11-of-28) and not scoring in the last 4:30. However, the Terps connected on five of 10 three-point attempts.

Starting off the second half, Maryland would go up by as much as 21 points after an Ayala three-pointer with 17:47 remaining, but Wisconsin began to whittle down the deficit—clawing back to as much as 13 points after a Happ flush at the 11:29 mark.

Officials called Happ for his fourth foul with 10:38 remaining, however, but Reuvers decided to take over the game for a stretch. Down 18 after two Fernando three throws, the sophomore forward scored eight straight points—including two three-pointers—to cut the lead to 10 at the 8:12 mark.

Maryland helped UW get back into the game by shooting just 26.3 percent in the second half. On the flip side, the Badgers came alive from deep, hitting 11 of 22 from three-point range and shooting 47.1 percent (16-of-34) in those final 20 minutes.

Wisconsin eventually cut the deficit to single digits, then went on an 8-0 run to tie the game at 57-57 as Reuvers hit his fourth three-pointer of the game with 3:09 remaining.

Maryland then went up two with a couple of Cowan free throws, but Davison’s three with just over two minutes left gave Wisconsin a 60-59 lead—its first advantage since a 4-2 score early in the game.

Both teams did not capitalize on their ensuing respective possessions, but with 44 seconds left, Cowan drilled a deep three-pointer to give the Terps a lead once again at 62-60—one it would not relinquish. After shooting so hot for most of the second half, Reuvers missed a three-pointer on Wisconsin’s next possession with 33 seconds remaining.

Davison fouled Darryl Morsell, who hit only one of two free throws. After some great defense from Maryland, Happ called a timeout with about 11 seconds remaining. The Badgers eventually found that wide open shot they were looking for with three seconds left, but Reuvers could not connect from three-point range to tie it up.

With about a second left, Cowan hit one of two free throws to seal the win for Maryland.

Wisconsin now will head back to Madison and prepare for one of the best teams in the nation, No. 2 Michigan, in a Saturday morning match-up at the Kohl Center.