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Wisconsin men’s basketball: three things that stood out from Sunday’s win over Maryland

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A look back at some talking points that emerged from the road win.

NCAA Basketball: Wisconsin at Maryland Daniel Kucin Jr.-USA TODAY Sports

The Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team was able to win their fifth straight game on Sunday evening. The win over Maryland was an up and down affair for the Badgers, but in the end, they managed to notch win No. 13 overall and their fourth win in the conference.

Let’s look back at what stood out from the 70-69 win.

Three things that stood out:

No. 1: Fast start + big drought

The Badgers came out the gates extremely hot against Maryland. Wisconsin had everything going their way for the first 11 minutes of the contest. As a team, they were shooting 67% from the floor. Tyler Wahl and Johnny Davis had 16 combined points, and defensively the Badgers were all over the Terrapins.

In fact, Maryland was only shooting 25% at that juncture. Wisconsin was in firm control of the game, and everything was pointing towards a potential blowout. At one point the Badgers put together a 16-2 run and held a 21-point lead.

However, the script was completely flipped during the latter stages of the first half. The Badgers went ice cold from the floor, and Maryland was able to take advantage. Wisconsin went scoreless for over five minutes, and the Terrapins answered with a 15-0 run to make things interesting come halftime.

The Badgers went away from what was working for them early in the game inside and were unable to make stops on the other end of the court. Overall, that strong start played a huge role in the win for Wisconsin, because the middle minutes of the game were dominated by Maryland.

No. 2: Davis/Wahl duo

Against Iowa, the Badgers received scoring production from all five starters, but the duo of Johnny Davis and Tyler Wahl played a key role in securing the tough win at home. Against Maryland, the combo once again came up big.

Wahl battled foul trouble throughout the night, but he was instrumental in keeping the Badgers in the game as the rest of the team struggled to score. Wahl poured in a career-high 21 points on an efficient 8-of-12 shooting and was a team-high +17 in terms of plus/minus. Wahl made a living in the paint and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line as well. In the past handful of games, Wahl is playing the best basketball of his career, and he is a big reason the team has won their last five contests.

Davis, like the team, started the game off playing really well. He had seven quick points on perfect 3-of-3 shooting. For the rest of the game, he struggled with his outside shot. The sophomore sensation still managed to finish with 19 points and seven rebounds, both of which were second on the team though.

Wahl and Davis have played really well this season, and the tandem scored 40 of the team’s 70 points against Maryland. In a game that could have easily gotten away from the Badgers due to some poor shooting, their top two players stepped up to answer the call.

No. 3: Outside shots

Wisconsin was really good at taking advantage of Maryland’s turnovers, but for the majority of the night, the team could not hit from three-point range.

Johnny Davis began the game by connecting on his first attempted three but then proceeded to miss his final six. Fellow backcourt member Brad Davison was also only 1-of-7 from long distance. As a team, the Badgers finished the game shooting 25% from three, and were 1-of-11 in the second half.

Fortunately for the Badgers that lone second-half three was a big one late from Steven Crowl, but Wisconsin’s inability to convert on their jump shots played an important role in Maryland’s comeback. The Terrapins finished the game shooting above 40% from behind the arc, and made it interesting to the bitter end.

Hopefully, the Badgers can regain their touch from three at the Kohl Center on Thursday, because shooting 83% from the free-throw line was great to see, but 11% shooting from long distance usually spells trouble in Big Ten play.

Up next: The Badgers will be back at the Kohl Center on Thursday night for a top-25 clash with Ohio State. Tip time is set for 6 p.m. CT and it will be aired on ESPN2.