Maryland knocks off #5 Wisconsin


Maryland has historically played some of their basketball late in the season.

This year’s team is no exception. Despite Wisconsin shooting much better in the second half, Maryland was able to knock off the fifth-ranked Badgers 59-53 on Tuesday evening.

Guard Dez Wells played arguably his best game of the season as he scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.

With Maryland clinging to a 55-52 lead with just 33 seconds left, guard Melo Trimble wasn’t phased by the pressure as he went right at the Badger defense and connected on a tough layup at the rim to give the Terps a five-point lead. Trimble netted 16 points on the night, including several key points late in the game.

Part of the reason for the Terrapins being in this position late in the game was the strong first half that Maryland had.

Maryland limited Wisconsin to 29.6 percent shooting from the field in the first half. The Badgers also missed 10 of 11 shots from beyond the arc.

Wisconsin did take a 7-4 lead early, but Maryland held their ground and played very strong perimeter defense. Forward Frank Kaminsky was relatively ineffective in the opening half as he only scored six points and had a single rebound. Part of that was the defensive acumen of freshman forward Michal Cekovsky. Cekovsky altered several Wisconsin shots and came up with three huge defensive rebounds.

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Kaminsky did have a better second half as he scored 18 points and grabbed eight boards when it was all said and done.

The Terps really made their mark when they went on a 7-0 run during a 1:16 stretch midway through the first half. Forward Jared Nickens connected on a three-pointer from the wing, which was followed by a Cekovsky dunk and a jumper from guard Dez Wells.

Maryland ended the first half with a cutting layup by guard Melo Trimble, giving the Terps a 31-20 lead at the break.

The Badgers started the second half on a 13-4 run to cut the Terp lead to 35-33. However, Maryland did respond.

Wells continued to put his imprint on the game as he hit just about any shot he wants. Whether it was a mid-range jumper or a layup inside, the Raleigh native was almost unstoppable.

However, it wasn’t without the Badgers making the Terps sweat. Forward Sam Dekker connected on a pair of shots from beyond the arc and really made Maryland work defensively.

With the teams trading baskets late in the second half, Well made his mark again. As he received a pick from forward Evan Smotrycz, Wells was able to blow by Dekker for the baseline dunk to give Maryland a 53-48 lead with just 3:49 remaining.

Wisconsin missed their last three shots from the floor and just couldn’t rattle Maryland late in the game. The Terps tied the Badgers with 31 total rebounds, which is huge against a team that has a stellar post player like Kaminsky.

The Terps shot a remarkable 48 percent from the field against one of the best defensive teams in the nation year in and year out.

Maryland will almost surely move up in next week’s Associated Press poll with a win over the No. 5 team in the country.

The Terps return to the court on Saturday when they welcome Michigan to College Park for a non tip-off.

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