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No. 17 Maryland men’s basketball blows late lead, falls to Wisconsin, 56-54

The Terps remain winless on the road after the heartbreaking defeat in Madison.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

With 13.6 seconds to play and No. 17 Maryland men’s basketball holding onto a one-point lead against Wisconsin, Darryl Morsell attempted to inbound the ball under his own basket to Anthony Cowan Jr.

But Wisconsin’s Brad Davison tipped his pass out of bounds and immediately threw it off of Morsell to regain possession. On the next play, the Badgers’ junior caught the pass and hit a corner three-pointer to give his team a two-point lead with 10 seconds remaining.

After coming up clutch for his team throughout the second half, Cowan looked to give the Terps their first road win of the season with one final play. Eager to show the same heroics that former Terp Melo Trimble used to pull out a last-second win at Kohl Center four years ago, the senior guard dribbled the ball up the court, crossed over and forced a three pointer with 4.5 seconds remaining.

But the shot didn't drop nor did Eric Ayala’s final heave, and Maryland was handed its second consecutive loss, falling 56-54 to Wisconsin Tuesday night. The Terps’ loss marks their worst start on the road since the 2011-12 season.

“That’s a devastating loss because the way we lost it at the end,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “Obviously I didn’t draw a good enough play to get the ball in bounds. And we had a timeout — we were aware of that. No one called it — trying to get the ball to Anthony. So give them credit on that play. And then we just didn’t guard that out of bounds under the way we should have guarded it.”

Maryland came out aggressive early with Cowan and Jalen Smith hitting the team’s first two shots and indicating the team’s offensive woes were left in Iowa City.

But the Terps quickly went cold on the offensive end, missing their next four shots, while Wisconsin put together an early 9-0 run. Redshirt sophomore Kobe King highlighted the stretch with a right elbow fadeaway near the 17-minute mark. About two minutes later, King finished a fast break layup off of a Donta Scott airball.

With 14:08 minutes remaining in the first half, Smith finally ended the Badgers’ run to give Maryland its first bucket in more than four minutes. The Baltimore native caught a pass at the top of key and knocked down the Terps’ first three-pointer on the night.

Around five minutes later, Cowan drained a corner three of his own off an offensive rebound from Ricky Lindo Jr. to keep the Terps within two points.

But once again, Maryland went cold from the floor, going 6:40 without a field goal and looking as if the team was stuck offensively. Finally, Morsell, who struggled in the first half with two fouls and three turnovers, drove towards the basket and finished over Wisconsin’s Trevor Anderson.

However, Wisconsin answered 14 seconds later with a three-pointer from Nate Reuvers, awarding the team with an eight-point lead — its largest of the half. The Badgers ran their offense through Reuvers and Micah Potter, who scored 18 of their 30 points at halftime.

Maryland entered halftime down five after Aaron Wiggins’ second deep ball of the night with 53 seconds remaining.

The Terps put the ball in the hands of Cowan and Smith in the second half.

With over four minutes elapsed in the second half, Smith received a pass at the top of the key from Ayala, who had two Badgers on him, and hit his second three-pointer of the night to tie the game at 32 apiece.

Then with 14:41 left in the game and the score still locked at 32, Cowan rose up and drained a three-pointer over a Badger defender to give the Terps the lead. Just under two minutes later, Cowan drove and made a fadeaway jump shot over Potter, which was part of his nine points in just under four minutes.

“I think today we played a lot tougher on the road,” Wiggins said. “We competed, we came to play, we played as if we all believed we wanted to win. In the end, you didn’t get the outcome we wanted, but I think college basketball is tough.”

Smith, who was a threat from deep throughout the game, gave the Terps a boost with his physicality in the second half. With just under 12 minutes remaining, Wiggins drove the lane and threw it to the rim for the big man. Smith caught the pass and slammed it home.

Nearly five minutes later, Smith pump faked at the three-point line, took one dribble and finished the and-one through contact, giving Maryland a four-point lead.

With just over 90 seconds left in the game, Maryland put the ball in Cowan’s hands once again. The guard utilized a screen from Smith, took three dribbles and threw the ball towards the rim. Smith immediately caught the pass and threw down the dunk to give the Terps a three-point lead.

Cowan and Smith combined for 20 points in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as Maryland’s late mistake cost it another road loss.

“We had one more timeout,” Cowan said about the final play. “We just didn’t call the timeout — that’s my fault as a leader. I got to call the timeout, but I didn’t do that.”

Three things to know

1. Aaron Wiggins found his groove back off the bench. For the first time this season, Turgeon ran out with a lineup of Anthony Cowan Jr., Eric Ayala, Darryl Morsell, Donta Scott and Jalen Smith.

Sophomore guard Aaron Wiggins was the odd man out after starting the previous 16 games and finished with 13 points and five rebounds, which was more than his 10.3 point per game average. Ayala had two points on 1-of-4 shooting and 0-of-3 shooting from deep.

“It sure looked that way, didn’t it,” Turgeon said about the lack of pressure on Wiggins after not starting. “We’re still not all the way there with all our guys, but it was a step in the right direction for him. ... I think he was more relaxed.”

This marks the sixth time this season that Turgeon has elected to go with a different starting lineup -- and tonight they scored 51 of the Terps’ 54 points.

2. The Terps won the rebounding battle. Maryland had a tough time in its last game controlling the paint. But tonight, the Terps outrebounded the Badgers 35-24 with 10 offensive rebounds.

Despite, Potter and Reuvers combining for 31 points and eight rebounds, Maryland had Scott and Smith outrebounded the duo with 16 rebounds of their own.

3. Jalen Smith, Anthony Cowan Jr. and Aaron Wiggins led the way. The trio of Wiggins, Cowan and Smith were very effective, despite the game ending in a loss. The three players combined for 47 of the Terps’ 54 points on 17-of-33 shooting from the field and 7-of-14 from deep.