Despite Melo Trimble scoring 27 points and leading by six at halftime, Maryland was unable to collect a big road win, as they lost at No. 11 Wisconsin 71-60. The loss drops Maryland to 22-5 overall and 10-4 in the Big Ten. They fall to third in the conference, while Wisconsin snaps a two-game losing streak and jumps into a tie for first-place in the Big Ten with Purdue at 11-3 in the league.
Turning point: Maryland built a 33-27 lead in the first half behind great ball movement by both Trimble and freshman guard Anthony Cowan. Maryland made 5-of-10 threes to build the lead. The six-point halftime deficit was Wisconsin’s largest of the season.
But the second half was a much different story. Wisconsin jumped out to 15-3 run to open the second half and regained the lead 42-36 before Maryland’s coach Mark Turgeon called timeout. Maryland came out with a perfectly-executed set out of the timeout, as Trimble took a handoff and drove to the rim. He missed but Damonte Dodd followed up with the putback. But that was one of the few highlights for the Terrapins in the second half.
Bullied inside: Wisconsin dominated the inside and the offensive glass. Maryland had no answer for the combination of Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ, as both combined for 41 points and just overmatched the Terrapins bigs — Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, and Justin Jackson. Maryland’s inability to move with the Badgers’ top combo led to easy buckets and foul trouble for the visitors.
Dominated on the boards: And when the Badgers did miss, they collected their second chances by dominating the offensive boards. Wisconsin had 18 offensive rebounds to Maryland’s 5. The Badgers made sure to get the ball inside to exploit the mismatch. Meanwhile, Maryland never could counter, as the Badgers did a great job keeping Maryland out of the paint in the second half, and forcing a lot of jumpers. Before long the tradeoff of easy buckets and foul shots outweighed the missed jumpers, as Maryland went 6:58 without a made field goal in the second half.
Wisconsin outrebounded Maryland 44-27, bullied its way to 37 free throws. Happ 20, Hayes 21. Little help rom supporting cast for #Terps.
— Jeff Ermann (@Jeff_Ermann) February 19, 2017
Free throw woes: Maryland struggled at the line. Before the game got away from them they were in striking distance but the disparity in both free throw attempts and Maryland’s struggles to make the free throws they got helped widen the gap. Wisconsin made 21-of-37 free throws, while Maryland was 14-of-23.
Melo Trimble had a solid stat line, but missed his final three free throws. Trimble missed the front end of a one-and-one on back-to-back possessions. Wisconsin countered with buckets off each miss that extended a 58-52 lead to 62-52 with a little more than six minutes remaining. Maryland was 9-of-17 from the line, five of those eight misses were from Trimble.
Cekovsky leaves game injured: Cekovsky had a rough game as he largely picked apart by Happ and Hayes, as they bullied him inside. Then he appeared to aggravated his left ankle that caused him to miss six games in late-December through mid-January. The injury occurred as he landed on the floor after being fouled by Hayes with 3:35 remaining.
Cekovsky was helped off the court and was unable to shoot his free throws, as Jalen Brantley took his shots.
Also of note: Michal Cekovsky rolled his left ankle, was icing it after the game. No word on his status for Minnesota on Wednesday.
— Roman Stubbs (@romanstubbs) February 19, 2017
What this means: Maryland once again failed to get a signature win on their resume ahead of the NCAA Tournament. The loss drops them to 0-2 against top 25 teams — those two losses were against the two teams they currently look up at in the Big Ten standings — Wisconsin and Purdue.
Their biggest win of the season thus far is Northwestern. Maryland won’t have any chance to another impressive win before the Big Ten tournament, as they have a relatively easy schedule the rest of the way, as they will play three of their last four at home against two bubble teams, Michigan State and Minnesota, and a faltering Iowa. Their lone road game will be against last-place Rutgers.
While they still have a strong chance to win the Big Ten regular season, being one game out of first and having the easiest remaining schedule of the three, that won’t lend them any help moving up in seeding for March.