The Maryland Terrapins entered their game versus the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday night undefeated. Well, undefeated at home since joining the Big Ten Conference, but you get the idea.
The Terps had won their first 27 games at the Xfinity Center in Big Ten Conference play, and were looking for their 28th win, but the red-hot Wisconsin Badgers denied #2 Maryland the chance at doing that, as the Badgers pulled off a big upset, winning 70-57.
Wisconsin’s junior forward Vitto Brown, who could win Big Ten Player of the Week scored a game-high 21 points to go with 7 rebounds on 8-14 shooting from the field. This win was a tournament resume builder for the Badgers, and a statement win.
The Badgers led for the final 29 minutes in this game, not allowing Maryland to take the lead and all of the momentum during the second half. The Badgers looked like a lost cause early on after a bunch of bad losses, but now they’re just taking it one at a time to improve their NCAA tournament chances.
“We don’t look forward like that,” Brown said after the game . “We focus on whatever is right in front of us. Before this game, we weren’t looking at, ‘If we win this, then this.’ We were just focusing on going in here and making a statement this game, and then we’ll focus on the next game after that.”
The Badgers improved to 16-9 on the season, and 8-4 in Big Ten play. This win was their first against Maryland this season after a tough 63-60 loss back on January 9th to the Terps at the Kohl Center back on January 9th.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon told Badgers interim head coach Greg Gard that he was going to brag about him during his own press conference. You can bet that for sure happened.
“I want to give Wisconsin a ton of credit,” Turgeon said. “They were dialed in from the beginning. They were quicker, more physical. Coach Greg Gard has done an unbelievable job with his team. When I shook his hand at their place, I knew they were on the right track and they were terrific tonight.”
“We’ve been saying that we can play with anybody in the country now for a while,” Koenig said. “They beat us on a last-second shot however many weeks ago, but it just shows how much we’ve improved over the past couple weeks.”
Senior guard Rasheed Sulaimon scored 17 to the lead the Terrapins while Diamond Stone, Jake Layman, and Melo Trimble also scored in double figures. Trimble had a struggling day from the field, however. He shot 1-14 with 8 of his 10 coming from the foul line.
Wisconsin will have another game on February 18th that could be critical when building their case for the NCAA tournament as they will travel to Michigan to take on the Spartans. Maryland will travel to Minnesota also on February 18th to play the 6-18 Minnesota Golden Gophers.
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