Badgers were able to outlast Maryland with a balanced scoring output in which six out of nine players who saw action score, including four in double figures. Brad Davison, who scored 13 points, hit two free throws with 8 seconds remaining to put the Badgers up by 3.
Maryland was led by Kevin Huerter, who finished with a game-high 20 points. However, he also doomed the Terps late, splitting a pair of free throws with 9.6 seconds to go and a chance to tie the game. However, Maryland cannot place its blame solely on the miscue otf their talented sophomore guard. The team, which is one of the Big Ten’s more efficient three-point shooting teams, finished just 2-14 from deep, and never led in by more than one point despite being in control for large portions of the game.
The Badgers weren’t much better, going 3-18 from three in one of the worst shooting performances in the Big Ten this season. Ultimately, though, WIsconsin’s ability to force timely turnovers, like Khalil Iverson’s steal with 6 seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory, was what helped to push them over the top on Thursday afternoon.
“[Iverson] has evolved into our defense end stopper,” WIsconsin coach Greg Gard raved. “For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great.”
Next up for WIsconsin is a rematch against the top-seeded Michigan State Spartans. The two teams clashed last Sunday in Madison, with the Spartans winning by a score of 68-63 despite Brad Davison’s career-high 34 points. Gard is well aware that this matchup will present a huge challenge to his young squad.
“Obviously they have a lot of weapons,” he said. “We have to get a lot of rest here tonight and get ready for tomorrow.”
“We just have to play and advance,” Happ added.
Despite their long odds, this Badgers squad showed tremendous grit in today’s win, and they certainly won’t go down without a fight tomorrow against the Spartans.
Ethan Happ, F, WIsconsin (14 points, 7 rebounds, 4/10 FG, 6/7 FTs)
Kevin Huerter, G, Maryland (20 points, 8/15 FG, 3 rebounds)
Brad Davison, G, Wisconsin (13 points, 5/12 FG, 2 assists)