clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wisconsin outplayed Maryland basketball, and the Terps finally couldn't find an answer

New, 97 comments

In front of their home crowd, the Terps have always found a way. On Saturday, they couldn't.

Sung-Min Kim/Testudo Times

For almost two full seasons, every time the Maryland men's basketball team has been in hot water at home, the Terps somehow found a way out of it. Against Wisconsin on Saturday night, they finally couldn't, each Terrapin run countered by a cool and calm Wisconsin response in a 70-57 loss.

"It just seemed like whenever we were in the game at some points," said forward Jake Layman, "they would hit the big shot or get an offensive rebound."  The Badgers finished with 13 offensive rebounds and 20 second-chance points,

The Terps playing sluggishly on Gary Williams Court is nothing new, even if losing on it is. In Maryland's 27-game and now-defunct home winning streak, the Terps looked uneasy in spurts in more games than they didn't. But without fail, Maryland was always able to charge back behind an individual outburst or two – from Dez Wells, or Melo Trimble, or Rasheed Sulaimon, or Diamond Stone or Robert Carter Jr.

The Terps got a 15-point halftime deficit down to 45-39 with 10:36 left in the game, and a raucous Xfinity Center was at roughly its peak noise level. Badgers coach Greg Gard called a timeout, and Wisconsin closed the game on a 25-12 run. The Badgers struck in infuriating fashion, scoring time and time again after offensive rebounds or as the shot clock wound near zeroes. Maryland lost the game in the final 10 minutes of the first half, when Wisconsin at one point mounted a 20-2 spurt. But the Badgers set upon sealing the deal when Gard called timeout after a Diamond Stone dunk.

"All I emphasized in that timeout was, 'We need to get back to what got us to that point," Gard said in his postgame press conference. 'Don't get out of character,' he said he told his players.

The Badgers didn't, instead technically and systematically dismantling Maryland in one of the country's hardest places to win. The Badgers are always one of the slowest-paced teams in the country, but they bled every second they could out of the shot clock. On some possessions, they diced the Terps with precision passing. On others, they demoralized them with offensive rebounds (20 second-chance points!). On others, they did both.

Maryland had a purposeful look about it after halftime, and for a time, it looked prime to come back like usual. The Terps charged hard at the basket and had an angry aura, but they were playing what Turgeon acknowledged after the game was a "downhill" style. Eventually, the hinges were off. "Frustration mounted," the coach said.

"We were at the park playing basketball," he added.

This was a loud arena all night. It's the same atmosphere that's helped Maryland crumble opponent after opponent since Virginia last won here in December 2014. The crowd was juiced for a fourth annual student section flash mob performance, and the place crescendoed as Maryland showed early second-half life. The Badgers persisted, and they won convincingly – in offensive rebounding and shot selection, particularly.

"We were going to have to weather the storm," Gard said. "They were just going to have to figure it out on their own on the floor at times, and fortunately we were able to do that."

Maryland kept pushing, and it felt from habit like the Terps would have a solution. For the first time in a long time in College Park, they simply ran out of answers.

"It was tough," guard Rasheed Sulaimon said. "They had a great second half, and every time we felt like we were coming back, they made another big shot. That can be discouraging at times."