Maryland basketball scored 33 points in the first 15:30 of Monday night’s game against Wisconsin. The No. 19 Terps scored 31 over the final 24:30. That’s how a 21-point lead dwindled and dwindled and became a one-point deficit before Maryland pulled back ahead for a 64-60 win.
It’s a win, and the Terps are 6-1 in the Big Ten now, but the shooting woes are almost the dominant storyline here. Maryland finished the game 16-of-47, a paltry 34 percent. The Terps went just 5-of-19 in the second half. They made three field goals in the final 17:47, and Anthony Cowan Jr. had all of them. He hit a three with 11:01 remaining, and Maryland didn’t hit another shot from the floor until his go-ahead triple in the last minute.
Free throws made the difference. Maryland made 24 of 29 foul shots, getting the Badgers in foul trouble early in the second half and taking advantage. Wisconsin shot just six free throws all night (making three), in large part because they started living by the three-pointer.
That turnaround contributed more than anything to this game becoming a nail-biter. After going 0-for-8 from long range in the first half, the Badgers drained 11 of 22 threes after halftime. Nate Reuvers caught fire, hitting four long balls and scoring 18 points in the period. Ironically enough, Wisconsin missed its last three shots, all from deep, allowing Maryland to pull out the win. Reuvers was open twice in the final seconds, but came up short both times.
(After the game, myself and a couple Wisconsin writers interviewed Reuvers on the court, right on the spot where he launched that last three. He was asked if he thought it was in. He looked down and said, “Yeah.”)
For Maryland, there are worse things than seeing everything go wrong and still coming out with a victory. Six-game winning streaks and 6-1 Big Ten records are things to be proud of, but there’s still plenty of room to improve. The Terps will get their next opportunity Friday night at Ohio State.
In other news
Maryland’s No. 19 ranking in the polls is its highest this season.
Bruno Fernando, who chipped in 10 points and four rebounds last night, won Big Ten Player of the Week for his performances against Minnesota and Indiana. On the women’s side, Shakira Austin earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the fifth time this season, while Taylor Mikesell was named to the league’s weekly honor roll.
This might not make sense to some of you, but someone posted an egg on Instagram with the intention of breaking the world record for likes and did it. The viral sensation (the egg, not the person behind its account) was courtside for Maryland-Wisconsin.
Maryland men’s soccer didn’t have any players drafted in the third and fourth rounds of the MLS SuperDraft, but it was still a productive draft for the Terps.
Johnny Holliday, the 40-year voice of the Terps, was named Maryland Sportscaster of the Year.
And in the heartwarming department, dozens of Maryland football players helped put together a video message for Natalie McMaster, a young girl battling cancer.