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Wisconsin men’s basketball: Maryland recap, part II

The Badgers were able to survive a pair of second half runs by Maryland to win 61-55 on the road.

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

The No. 14 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team (13-4 overall, 7-3 B1G), coming off of a tough home loss to Ohio State, took their talents on the road for a revenge matchup with Maryland.

Wisconsin came into the game looking for a chance at redemption after the Terrapins came to Madison and exited victorious back in late December to hand the Badgers their first conference loss of the season.

On Wednesday evening, the Badgers took care of business on the road to earn a much needed six-point win, 61-55, to avenge the loss earlier in the year.

To open the game, Wisconsin got off to a strong start against Maryland and took a 14-4 lead into the second media timeout. The Badgers took advantage of the Terps offensive struggles (18% shooting early on), and connected on a couple big three-pointers to capitalize.

Over the course of the next five minutes very little changed, as neither team could muster much on the offensive end. With 7:32 left in the first half the Badgers held a nine point lead, as shot selection was an issue for both squads.

A few minutes later, Micah Potter single-handedly went on a 6-0 run to push the Badgers lead to 14 over the Terrapins. Over the final two minutes of the half, though, Trevor Anderson and Tyler Wahl hit a pair of jumpers to extend the lead to 18 points at the halfway mark.

Maryland would not go quietly however. The Terps began the second half making three of their first five three-point attempts to close narrow the deficit to only 12 at the first media timeout, and that was only the beginning. Maryland kept that run going to make it only a three-point lead with 11:30 remaining, as the momentum completely shifted in the game thanks to a 20-8 run by the Terrapins.

Wisconsin would put together a mini-run of their own to get things back to 54-42 with 7:13 left to play behind six straight points by Micah Potter, and a pretty finish by Jonathan Davis inside.

Maryland went on a late 8-0 run to get the score back to only seven points in favor of the Badgers, but in the end Wisconsin was able to salt the game away to earn a big six-point road win over Maryland.

Notable stat lines:

  • Micah Potter —> 23 points (8-of-12 from the floor), 12 rebounds, two assists
  • D’Mitrik Trice —> 13 points (4-of-14 from the floor), eight rebounds, three assists
  • Tyler Wahl —> four points (2-of-5 from the floor), five rebounds, three assists
  • Aaron Wiggins —> 18 points (8-of-14 from the floor), three rebounds, one steal

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Micah Potter

The senior forward stood out in a big way on Wednesday night. Potter put together a stretch in the first half where he scored eight consecutive points and finished the first stanza with 14 points and eight rebounds to pace the team. Potter was able to connect from deep (66%) and in the paint early, and was a big reason for the 18-point advantage at half.

In the second half, it was Micah Potter who halted a momentous comeback by Maryland with six straight points to get the lead back to 10 with just over eight minutes remaining in the game, and every time the Badgers needed a big bucket he came up clutch.

For the game, Potter would notch his third double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and his play was huge all night long.

No. 2: Defensive effort

The first time that these two teams played, Maryland took advantage of Wisconsin inside. The Terrapins outscored the Badgers 38-20 in the paint, and shot 64% for the game.

In the second go-round, Wisconsin was much better defensively.

Maryland only shot 25% from the floor in the first half, including an ice-cold 2-of-14 from three as the defensive intensity was dramatically different for the Badgers.

In the final 20 minutes, Maryland came out of the intermission shooting exceptionally well, and the aggressive defense disappeared in the first eight minutes of the second half. Maryland was able to dictate and create whatever they wanted coming out of the break, making over 50% of their shots from all over the court.

Wisconsin would weather the storm and eventually slow things down though.

For a team that has frequently struggled this season with defensive lapses (still occurred at times in this game) and a lack of energy, they were able to keep their composure and not allow Maryland’s run coming out of halftime to bury them like it did the first time these two teams met.

No. 3: Win and advance

This will not go down as one of the best performances of the season for the Badgers, but despite multiple scoring droughts and defensive lapses, they were able to gut out a win on the road.

The Big Ten is extremely tough this season, and it was nice to see Wisconsin thoroughly outplay Maryland during the first half and start the game strong in the opening minutes.

The Badgers once again came out of halftime fairly flat, and allowed Maryland to get back into the game quickly, but the resilience to not panic and instead get back to basics allowed them to respond and ultimately win the game.

The major question mark now will be can Wisconsin put it all together?

We have seen the team have spurts in which they have played well, but they have not strung together more than two wins at a time in conference play. With back-to-back matchups with Penn State on the schedule next, the time is now if they want to make another run for a conference title like last year.

Up next: The Badgers will have back-to-back games versus Penn State upcoming. The first matchup tips off on Saturday at 2 p.m. CST on Big Ten Network live from Happy Valley, while the two teams will then reconvene in Madison a few days later on Tuesday night.