Five Key Numbers From Maryland Men’s Basketball’s 70-69 Loss To Wisconsin

After dropping two consecutive games and its first three conference games, the Maryland men’s basketball team desperately needed to bounce back.

But the Terps (8-7, 0-4 Big Ten) did not find a way to recover, and they fell, 70-69, to No. 23 Wisconsin (13-2, 4-1 Big Ten) on Sunday, Jan. 9 at Xfinity Center.

“I love the fight of our team. … I don’t like it when we give up such an early lead like we did tonight,” interim head coach Danny Manning said. “But we’ve shown that we have the wherewithal to continue to find a way to claw, fight and scratch and get back into the ballgame.”

Here are five pivotal numbers from the matchup.

19

Wisconsin sophomore guard Johnny Davis has been one of the best players in college basketball this year. Entering the matchup, Davis had been averaging 22.6 points, 2.8 assists, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game. He was also named to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List.

Before the game, Manning emphasized the importance of making Davis work for everything.

“You want to make his catches challenged. No easy catches, and you don’t want to do anything to let him get himself going,” Manning said. “You don’t want to fall asleep and give up a backdoor. You don’t want to commit an unnecessary foul on a jump shot.”

However, Manning noted that a player like Davis would have scoring opportunities. And he had plenty of those Jan. 9. Davis tallied seven points not even five minutes into the game, with an early 3-pointer increasing Wisconsin’s lead to 7-0.

Although Maryland did a better job containing him in the second half, Davis still contributed. Davis’ first points of the second half came on a pair of free throws. As Wisconsin held a two-point lead (66-64) with less than 30 seconds remaining, a foul from graduate guard Xavier Green sent Davis to the line. He converted both shots.

He finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds.

“I thought he got a little passive at times, didn’t attack the basket,” Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard said of Davis’ second-half play. “[Maryland] did a good job of plugging gaps and taking away some of his alleys and his lanes to the rim. We didn’t get a whole lot of transition, either. So that’s a credit to Maryland, to the game plan against him [to] try to make life a little harder and have somebody else try to score.”

Maryland also had difficulty defending Wisconsin junior forward Tyler Wahl, who finished with 21 points and four rebounds.

Wahl took advantage of a Terrapin turnover and made a layup that extended his team’s lead to 14 points (20-6). The Minnesota native had a fast-break dunk off of a Maryland turnover early in the second half that gave the Badgers a three-point lead (39-36). Wahl posted another dunk nearly five minutes later.

Wahl left his mark, from the free-throw line to scoring in the paint.

“I thought that was big for [Wahl] to define gaps and be able to drive it, get there and finish plays,” Gard said.

83%

Wisconsin was shooting 76 percent from the free-throw line prior to its game against Maryland. The Terrapins got into foul trouble early on, allowing Wisconsin to claim and build a lead.

The Badgers had their first opportunity at the free-throw line less than a minute into the game, as a foul from senior guard Eric Ayala sent Tyler Wahl to the free-throw line. He made both shots.

Wahl appeared at the free-throw line a few minutes later and once again took advantage of the opportunity. He extended his team’s lead by 10 points (16-10).

The Badgers also had several opportunities at the line in the second half. With the score tied at 39, a foul from Xavier Green sent Johnny Davis to the free-throw line, and he converted both shots, providing his team with a two-point lead (41-39).

Wisconsin relied on free throws to close out the win at the end of the game. With 29 seconds remaining, a foul by Ayala sent Wisconsin senior guard Brad Davison to the free-throw line. Davison was making 87.5 percent of free throws heading into the matchup, and he converted both shots and extended his team’s lead to four points (66-62).

Seconds later, Davison and Davis had more opportunities at the line, and both were successful.

The Badgers concluded the game 15-for-18 (83 percent) at the free-throw line.

4

Junior center Qudus Wahab tallied zero points in less than nine minutes against Illinois Jan. 6. And his offense seemed to be missing again Jan. 9.

Wahab finished with just four points against the Badgers. His first basket of the game was a hook shot in the paint. He also had a pair of free throws that put Maryland within eight points (29-21).

The Georgetown transfer posted a combined 35 points in his first two games of the season and has scored in double figures six times this season. Danny Manning does not seem worried about the recent downturn.

“Q is somebody we still have a lot of confidence in,” Manning said.

21

Wisconsin came out firing against Maryland.

The Badgers built a seven-point lead (7-0) against the Terps not even two minutes into the game. And they only increased that lead as the half continued. With a little less than nine minutes remaining in the first half, the Terps trailed by 21 points (29-8) and did not seem to have an answer for Wisconsin at either end of the court.

However, momentum quickly shifted, and the Terps went on a 15-0 run to get within six points of the Badgers by the end of the first half (33-26). Baskets came from graduate guard Xavier Green, junior guard Hakim Hart, junior forward Donta Scott and junior center Qudus Wahab. Scott led the Terps with eight points in the first half.

The Terps’ energy continued into the second half.

After posting zero points in the first half, Ayala posted 19 points in the second half. Ayala drilled two consecutive 3-pointers about five minutes into the second half, giving the Terps their first lead of the game (36-35).

“I thought he just made his mind up to go play,” Manning said of Ayala’s second-half burst. “I’m not saying he didn’t feel like that at the start of the game, but I don’t know how many halves that Eric has played and offensively have a half like he did in the first half. I think a lot of it, he just felt like, ‘I’ve got to go make some plays for my team, I’ve got to go make some shots for my team,’ and he certainly did that in the second half.”

Ayala continued his dominant play as the half progressed. Nearly halfway through the second half, Ayala converted a pair of free throws that gave the Terps a three-point lead (50-47). He also made a turnaround jumper with less than five minutes remaining that tied the game (57-57).

As time was about to expire, Ayala nailed another shot behind the arc that put his team within one point (70-69). The senior had an opportunity to win the game seconds later. However, his long shot from beyond half court wasn’t close, and the Terps failed to emerge victorious.

Russell also had a solid second half, posting 11 points. He finished the game with 13.

“We’ve got a lot of fight in our team,” Ayala said. “It’s sad that we start games like that and just having to fight back and stuff. I think we came out in the second half, and it’s kind of been the trajectory of our team where we come out in the second half. We were right there.”

10

After some quiet performances in recent games, Green found consistency Jan. 9. He finished the night with 10 points and four rebounds in 27 minutes. Before this matchup, Green had not scored more than three points in a game this season. The Old Dominion transfer posted three points against Louisville and Illinois.

“Xavier Green was outstanding tonight. He should’ve played more. That’s why he did,” Manning said.

Green’s first basket of the game came with around five minutes remaining in the first half, a 3-pointer on the fast break off of a Wisconsin turnover. It put the Terps within 14 points of the Badgers (29-15).

Green made a jumper nearly two minutes later that got Maryland within six points (29-23).

The 6-foot-6, 205-pound guard tied the game (53-53) with a 3-pointer with around seven minutes left in regulation. Green also had a pull-up jumper about 30 seconds later that gave Maryland a two-point lead.

Aside from his offensive burst, Green did a solid job guarding Davis, who only posted 19 points Jan. 9 compared to his 22.6 points-per-game average coming in.

“I just knew to be a pest. Everywhere he’s at, I’m there,” Green said. “… I just wanted to be there and contest every shot.”

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox

Emma Shuster

See all posts by Emma Shuster. Follow Emma Shuster on Twitter at @emmashuster1.