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Wisconsin storms past Maryland late in 69-61 win

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Brad Davison and Ethan Happ do, well, Brad Davison and Ethan Happ things.

Dan Sanger

MADISON—At a couple points of Friday night’s contest against the Maryland Terrapins—with the game close or tied—it seemed the Wisconsin Badgers could not make the right play to pull ahead.

In the last 4:37 of the game, however, Wisconsin surged ahead in regaining the lead and ultimately holding off Maryland in a 69-61 win at the Kohl Center.

The Badgers finished the game outscoring the Terps 15-6 to pull out the victory. Brad Davison scored 14 of his game-high 21 points in the second half—including five made free throws in that aforementioned final stretch. The sophomore guard also pulled down four rebounds and was credited with two steals.

Redshirt senior forward Ethan Happ recorded yet another double-double, tallying 18 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in the win. Redshirt sophomore forward Aleem Ford connected on two of four three-point attempts and four of six overall to score 10 points—the only other Badger in double figures.

Wisconsin (16-6, 8-3 Big Ten) shot 46.9 percent for the game but made nine of 18 three-pointers. UW also drew more fouls, going to the line and making 14 of 23 free throws.

Maryland (17-6, 8-4) shot 44.6 percent from the field, but after a hot first half, Wisconsin held the Terps to connecting on just 10 of 29 shots (34.5 percent) in the final 20 minutes.

Freshman guard Eric Ayala scored a team-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Sophomore forward Bruno Fernando, like Happ, recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. was the only other Maryland player in double figures with 11 points, but he made only four of 16 attempts from the field—including hitting on only two of nine from three-point range.

Wisconsin was down by as much as nine points on two occasions in the first half, but Brevin Pritzl’s three-pointer with one second left allowed UW to pull within five at 36-31 heading into halftime.

Maryland’s three-point shooting stood out in the first 20 minutes, with the Terps hitting six of 10 from deep while hitting 55.6 percent from the field overall (15 of 27). Ayala and Fernando combined for 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting.

Happ tallied nine points, six rebounds and two assists in the first half while Davison connected on three of seven shots to have seven points.

After a Fernando dunk two minutes into the second half, Wisconsin fought back and went on a 7-0 run to tie it all up at 40-40 at the 16:11 mark. All seven points came from Happ, which included five free throws and a layup for the All-American candidate.

Wisconsin could have taken the lead with Maryland unable to score in a 4:19 stretch, but Ayala’s three gave the Terps a 43-40 lead with 13:41 remaining.

Maryland stretched the advantage to six after a Smith layup, but Pritzl and Davison responded with consecutive three-pointers to tie the game up at 48-48 with 10:23 left in the second half.

In the final 20 minutes, Wisconsin shot 60 percent (6-of-10) from three-point range.

With Maryland leading by one, Davison struck again from deep in hitting his fourth three-pointer to give Wisconsin a 54-52 advantage.

The teams traded the lead once again as a Cowan free throw and Fernando layup gave the Terps a 55-54 advantage, but Wisconsin then exploded on a 15-4 run in a 3:37 span to ultimately pull away.

Ford’s first three-pointer of the game at the 4:37 mark of the second half gave the Badgers a lead it would not give up the rest of the game. Happ then connected on a layup to give the Badgers a 59-55 advantage with under four minutes remaining.

A Fernando free throw brought Maryland within a possession of tying it, but Ford’s second three-pointer started a 7-0 run to push the game nearly out of reach. Though scoring only seven points on Friday night, D’Mitrik Trice nailed a jumper with 1:38 left in regulation that gave the Badgers a more comfortable 66-56 lead.

Davison converted five of seven attempts from the free throw line in a 78-second span (2:18 to 1:00 mark) to help seal the win as well. His final two from the stripe with a minute remaining capped Wisconsin’s scoring.

In the final 4:17 of the game, Maryland only made two of its final seven shots—including missing four straight at one point—and two of four free throws.

Wisconsin now moves into sole possession of fourth place in the Big Ten standings before entering a rough stretch where it plays at Minnesota (Feb. 6), at No. 5 Michigan (Feb. 9) and at home against No. 6 Michigan State (Feb. 12).