On Sunday Maryland lost a very important game against Wisconsin, 71-60, and once again found themselves without a win against ranked competition.
In the early minutes Maryland was taking most of their shots from beyond the arc. Enough of these shots went in to make it a close game, but it was obvious that the Terps did not want to be shooting that many threes. The Wisconsin defense was not allowing anything inside, forcing Maryland to put up some desperation attempts late in the shot clock.
The match-up remained closely contested but some questionable calls on both teams put a brief damper on the game late in the first half. During the last four minutes of the half there was an influx of foul calls that brought the flow of the game to a halt. To make things worse, both teams missed a fair share of these free throws, making the end of the first half even harder to watch.
At the break Maryland led 33-27 courtesy of shooting 50% from the three point line. However, the Terps were at a severe disadvantage in the turnover department. Wisconsin was not shooting very well but the extra opportunities they got from Maryland’s turnovers definitely contributed to the close game.
Early in the second half, the Badgers quickly erased the Terps’ six point lead and established a substantial lead of their own with a 19-5 run. The energy inside the Kohl Center had drastically changed and Maryland was not able to find the big shots they had in the first half to silence the crowd.
With just over nine minutes to play, Maryland was crawling back and had made it a one possession game. Following an aggressive play where Damonte Dodd got out wrestled for the rebound, Coach Mark Turgeon received a rare technical foul. Turgeon is very animated, like many other college coaches, but rarely oversteps his boundaries. The foul allowed Wisconsin to regain control and extend their lead once again
If the Terps were going to come back, it was going to be an uphill battle. The shooting percentage difference from the first half had almost evened out with both teams floating around 40%. The Terps were also losing the turnover and rebound battles. Wisconsin took advantage of the Terps’ second half struggles and never looked back. They held onto a double digit lead through the final minutes and finished with a 71-60 victory.
Coach Turgeon will surely get a hefty amount of blame for his technical foul. While I do think it is absurd to place the loss on his shoulders, the outburst came at the worst possible time for Maryland. That being said, I could also point to the turnovers, the overly sensitive foul calls, or the complete lack of a backbone on the glass as the reasons for this loss.
My only hope is that this loss does not outshine Maryland’s impressive win against Northwestern on Wednesday. I believe the Terps are due for a boost in the rankings on Monday but we will see. The good news is that Terps will play three of their final four games at home with the sole road game being against the last place Rutgers.