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Wisconsin basketball: Maryland recap

Brad Davison leads the Badgers to the upset of No. 17 Maryland thanks to stellar defense and dead-eye shooting.

Dan Sanger

Coming off a road win over ranked Penn State, the Wisconsin Badgers basketball team (11-6 overall, 4-2 B1G) was back in action Tuesday night against the No. 17 Maryland Terrapins (13-4 overall, 3-3 B1G).

Maryland came into the game led by senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. and sophomore forward Jalen Smith, both of whom were preseason All-Big Ten honorees. Oddly enough, though, the Terrapins were still seeking their first road win of the season.

At a packed Kohl Center the Badgers would not disappoint, beating Maryland in dramatic fashion 56-54 thanks to a heads up defensive play and a dagger of a three-pointer by Brad Davison.

In the early moments of the game both teams came out of the gates shooting well from the field. Wisconsin was able to parlay that early success into a three-point lead at the first media timeout behind a three-point make by Davison.

Wisconsin continued where they left off, as Micah Potter came off the bench with seven quick points before the second media timeout. Potter was able to do it inside and outside to help the Badgers take a 16-9 lead with just over 11 minutes to go in the first half.

After some nice back and forth action, both teams would endure some subtle shooting struggles during the latter parts of the first half with the Wisconsin lead maintaining at seven with three minutes left. Ultimately, the Badgers would hold a five-point advantage at the intermission.

In the early portion of the second half, Wisconsin would start out cold, missing their first four shots. Maryland would capitalize on the drought by closing the gap, and eventually taking the lead over Wisconsin. The Badgers would respond and tie the game back up at 39 with 11:49 left in the game thanks to some big shots by Davison and Potter against Maryland’s zone defense.

Maryland would continue to push forward though and retook a lead shortly thereafter. The Badgers would take it down to the wire. The Badgers had a chance to take the lead late, but struggled with a poor offensive possession in which the team seemed out of sorts. Brad Davison responded with an amazing defensive play on the inbound, stealing the inbounds pass and throwing it off the in-bounder who was still standing out of bounds and then drilled a huge three-pointer from the corner to give the Badgers a two-point lead with 9.1 seconds to play.

Maryland was unable to convert on a deep three-point attempt, and Wisconsin secured another huge victory over a ranked program in Big Ten play.

Notable stat lines:

  • Nate Reuvers —> 17 points (7-of-15 from the floor), five rebounds, one steal, one block
  • Micah Potter —> 14 points (6-of-7 from the floor), three rebounds, one steal
  • Brad Davison —> 14 points (5-of-9 from the floor), three rebounds, one assist, one steal
  • Jalen Smith (Maryland) —> 18 points (7-of-11 from the floor), nine rebounds

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Big man rotation

The emergence of Micah Potter has been key during the past few games. On Tuesday night against Maryland, the junior forward poured in another 14 points and three rebounds in a mere 13 minutes of game time coming off of the bench.

Potter’s front court partner in crime Nate Reuvers was also back to form against Maryland. After scoring only four points at Penn State last week, Reuvers reemerged as one of the top scoring threats with 17 points, and five rebounds, in 27 minutes.

The duo of Potter and Reuvers splitting time will undoubtedly help keep both players fresh as the grind of Big Ten play rattles on. With so many stellar front court players in the conference, to have two great options that can be interchanged at any moment is huge for Wisconsin. Jalen Smith is one of the best forwards in the conference, and both players held up well against him on both ends of the court, but the rebounding will need to be better, as the Badgers were out-rebounded 35 to 24 on the game.

No. 2: Out of rhythm

After starting out the game hot with two straight makes, Kobe King struggled for most of the game as he dealt with foul trouble. The sophomore wing came into the night averaging over 17 points per game in Big Ten play, but against Maryland, he was held in check for the first 20+ minutes.

King picked up his third foul after only 13 seconds in the second half, and would not get back into the game until the 14 minute mark. He would go on to make some crucial buckets in the waning moments of the game to make his presence felt though as he finished with eight points.

It was not just King who struggled at times against Maryland. D’Mitrik Trice and Aleem Ford were ice cold. The two starting juniors were a combined 0-of-8 from the field with zero points.

With the bulk of the scoring load falling in the hands of Nate Reuvers, Micah Potter and Brad Davison, Wisconsin was able to get by in a low-scoring match up.

No. 3: Second chances

Wisconsin gave up way too many second chance opportunities to Maryland. The Terrapins snagged three offensive rebounds in the first half, which led to four points. In the second half however the problem was more readily apparent. Maryland grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the second stanza which resulted in five second chance points.

In a close game, the rebounding issues are troubling. Maryland is one of the lengthier teams across their front line, but Wisconsin did not block out well, and were not nearly aggressive enough in crashing the glass for the majority of the game. For comparison, the Badgers only had four offensive rebounds on the game, a stark difference from their season average of over 8.5 per game.

No. 4: Late game heroics

But seriously!?!?! Brad Davison!

The junior guard made some special plays in the final seconds of the game. The wherewithal to knock the ball off the in-bounder was phenomenal, but then to hit the dagger three-pointer on the Wisconsin in-bounds play was huge. Greg Gard was very complimentary of the junior guard, calling him the “heartbeat of the team” and the “mortar between our bricks.” Davison has played up and down this season, but he came up huge for the Badgers against the Terrapins.

Up next: Wisconsin will head back out on the road for a date with the No. 15 Michigan State Spartans in East Lansing, Michigan on Friday night. Tip off is set for 6 p.m. on FS1.