The No. 2 Maryland Terrapins lost at home to a Big Ten opponent for the first time since joining the league last season, falling 70-57 to the Wisconsin Badgers at the Xfinity Center on Saturday.
Wisconsin celebrated its big win on Twitter:
Vitto Brown led a balanced scoring effort with 21 points for the Badgers. Bronson Koenig had 16 points and six rebounds, while Nigel Hayes had 14 points and six boards.
Although Maryland made a few runs in the second half, Wisconsin controlled the game after a 17-0 run turned a 14-7 deficit into a 24-14 lead. The Badgers eventually led 36-21 at halftime, and Maryland never got closer than within six, losing a home game for the first time since Dec. 3, 2014.
It was one of the worst halves of basketball for the Terrapins this season, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Maryland's 33% shooting was its 2nd-worst in a 1st half this season. Terps particularly struggled in half-court: pic.twitter.com/3NWRmioPWU— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2016
Plays like this from Hayes to Khalil Iverson had the Badgers clicking all night, per Wisconsin on BTN:
It had to be frustrating for Maryland. It certainly appeared that way when its star freshman, Diamond Stone, received a technical foul after shoving Brown's head to the court two seconds before halftime, per Mike Rutherford of Card Chronicle.
Although Wisconsin started the season poorly at 6-5, Seth Davis of CBS Sports thinks Saturday's win could make it an NCAA tournament team:
Wisconsin has a road win at Syracuse, neutral court W over VCU, beat Mich St and IU at home, now Md on road. That's an NCAA resume.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 14, 2016
Rasheed Sulaimon led Maryland with 17 points. Stone, Melo Trimble and Jake Layman each had 10 points.
While the win will likely help Wisconsin more than it will hurt Maryland in the long run, the Terrapins have fallen one game behind the Iowa Hawkeyes and Indiana Hoosiers in the loss column for first place in the Big Ten.
Don't look for Maryland to fall into any kind of tailspin, as this game was more about Wisconsin's hot streak—which includes three road victories in a row—than it was the Terrapins' poor play.
Wisconsin is now 8-4 in league play and just two games out of first place. With the way the Badgers are playing, they could end up fighting for the Big Ten title during the season's final weekend.
Wisconsin, just one season removed from an appearance in the national title game, doesn’t seem to mind playing highly ranked teams, per ESPN Stats & Info:
Wisconsin's last three games against Top-2 opponents:— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 14, 2016
- Tonight at Maryland: Win
- 2015 vs Kentucky: Win
- 2013 at Indiana: Win
Despite the past success, beating good teams never gets old. The Badgers shared some postgame celebration following the big victory:
"I told you we were gonna celebrate!"https://t.co/VvCuEZHq43— Wisconsin Basketball (@BadgerMBB) February 14, 2016
While most of the talk focused on the game, there were questions about Stone's incident with Brown. Hayes may have had the best answer, per Matt Ellentuck of the Testudo Times:
Q: "What did you see during that incident in the first half?"— Matt Ellentuck (@mellentuck) February 14, 2016
Nigel Hayes: "I don't know what you're talking about."
The Badgers appear happy to move on from the incident and focus on trying to win the Big Ten. A victory like this is a step in the right direction.