(23) Badgers 70, Maryland 69: Last word

No. 23 Wisconsin used a fast start and some clutch plays down the stretch to beat Maryland 70-69 on Sunday night.

Player of the Game: Tyler Wahl

Tyler Wahl’s offensive game is coming alive. After scoring 16 points in a win Thursday against Iowa, the junior went for a career-high 21 points Sunday night. He had 11 of those in the first half, but there were several key stretches in the second half that stood out as the Badgers tried to hold off the Terrapins.

With Wisconsin trailing 36-35 after blowing a 21-point lead, Maryland was looking for more when Wahl came up with a block at the rim. After the Badgers took the lead on the following possession, they got a steal at midcourt and Wahl turned it into a dunk.

He made three straight shots midway through the second half, including a layup that gave the Badgers at 51-50 lead. Another layup with 6:04 tied the game at 55 and his final points came on two free throws that gave Wisconsin the lead.

On a night that star guard Johnny Davis did not have his best offensive game, Wahl went 8-for-12 from the field and 5-for-5 from the free throw line. He has now scored in double figures four times in the last five games.

The good: The start

Wisconsin played about as good as it could in opening up a 21-point first half lead. The Badgers made 11 of their first 16 shots, including four 3-pointers. On the other end they locked Maryland up to the tune of just eight points (4-for-18) in the first 12 minutes of the game.

The not so good: The collapse

The Badgers looked to be on the verge of blowing the Terrapins out in their own building but as good as Wisconsin was to start the game, Maryland made Coach Greg Gard’s club look that bad the rest of the half. UW hit just two shots in the final 8:20, which helped the Terrapins go one a 15-0 run to pull within seven points at the half.

Stat of the Game: 8-1

Wisconsin’s collapse forced it into another tight game but the Badgers managed to come out on top, improving to 8-1 in games decided by six points or less this season.

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In Case You Missed It

— Wisconsin played without guard Jahcobi Neath due to a lower body injury. It was the eighth game he has missed because of an injury, COVID-19 or a non-COVID illness.

— The Badgers led 70-69 with 3.1 seconds left and Brad Davison was at the free throw line. After he missed the first one, Wisconsin decided to have Davison miss the second so Maryland would not be able to set up an inbounds play to potentially tie or win the game. It worked as Eric Ayala’s half-court shot at the buzzer did not come close to going in.

— Johnny Davis had 19 points. It snapped his six-game streak of scoring 20 points or more.

— Wisconsin earned its third win in seven days, including two on the road. It is the first time the Badgers have done that since late January of 2019.

What’s next?

Wisconsin (13-2, 4-1) will come home to face Ohio State (10-3, 4-1) on Thursday. The Buckeyes handed the Badgers their lone Big Ten loss in mid-December.