Maryland basketball couldn’t hold on to a halftime lead Sunday, falling 71-60 at Wisconsin. Another star turn by Melo Trimble wasn’t enough to save the Terps, who move to 22-5 on the season.
After a back-and-forth first half, the No. 11 Badgers swung this contest with a big run right out of the break. Wisconsin outscored the No. 23 Terps by 17 points in the second half, withstanding a brief Maryland surge to comfortably lead by double digits down the stretch.
Trimble took over again, tallying 15 of the Terps’ 33 first-half points and finishing the afternoon with 27. He kept Maryland in the game with his heroics in the second half, but a surprisingly poor showing at the foul line held him back.
Wisconsin’s frontcourt duo of Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ proved too much to handle. They scored 21 and 20 points, respectively, and also had their way on the glass, hauling in a combined 17 rebounds.
The Badgers got a handful of Terps in foul trouble and took advantage. Six Maryland players picked up at least three fouls, and Wisconsin took 37 free throws to Maryland’s 23. Both teams struggled mightily at the stripe, but Wisconsin picked things up in the second half.
Wisconsin also won this game with steals and offensive rebounds. The Badgers corralled 18 of their own missed shots, resulting in 19 second-chance points. They added 15 off 13 Maryland turnovers.
The turnover bug bit Maryland early, as the Terps committed six in the game’s first seven minutes. They made up for it on the defensive end to keep the game close, though. Neither team had a lead larger than four points in the first 19 minutes.
Maryland led 33-27 after a sloppy first half dominated more by whistles and missed free throws than anything. Trimble drained a pair of threes in the last minute of the half to break a 27-27 tie, and Brevin Pritzl’s triple just before the buzzer wasn’t off before the shot clock expired.
Wisconsin wasted no time erasing its deficit, starting the second half on a torrid 15-3 run and reclaiming the lead just over four minutes in. The Badgers’ advantage ballooned to eight, and there was a stretch where any Maryland response was overcome by a slew of fouls on defense.
Trimble kept his team afloat, scoring six straight Maryland points and cutting it to five with eight minutes remaining. But it still wasn’t enough, as the normally reliable free-throw shooter missed four foul shots in the second half, including two on the front end of a one-and-one.
Before long, the Terps found themselves down by double-digits, and they couldn’t shoot their way back in it. To make matters worse, Michal Cekovsky went down with an injury late; the center was the only Terrapin besides Trimble in double figures.
Three things to know
1. Bronson Koenig came alive in the second half. After missing Thursday’s game at Michigan with a leg strain, Koenig wasn’t in the starting lineup for this one. He still played 14 first-half minutes, but didn’t score. The story changed on the other side, as he notched nine points in the second half, including the jumpers that pushed the Badgers ahead for good.
2. The Melo Trimble takeover continues. The junior burst out of his shooting slump Wednesday with a 12-of-17, 32-point performance against Northwestern, and he stayed hot Sunday with 27. In both of these games, he was the Terps’ biggest scorer by a wide margin, as no other Maryland player scored more than 13 in either contest.
3. The Terps missed on what would have been their biggest win of the season. Maryland had only played one ranked opponent before Sunday, losing to Purdue at home two weeks ago. Taking down Wisconsin on the road would have opened eyes across the country and vastly improved Maryland’s standing in the Big Ten. The Terps are still in decent position there, but life becomes a bit more difficult now.