No. 24 Wisconsin's defense put the clamps on No. 21 Maryland down the stretch and took a pivotal 69-61 Big Ten victory Friday night in Madison, Wis.
Brad Davison scored 21 points for Wisconsin (16-6, 8-3 Big Ten), including back-to-back 3-pointers to put Wisconsin ahead 54-52 with 6:12 remaining. Maryland (17-6, 8-4) regained the lead 55-54 on Bruno Fernando's lay-in at 4:59, but then it was all Badgers as surging Wisconsin won a fifth straight game.
The Badgers went ahead for good on Aleem Ford's 3-pointer at 4:40 to go up 57-55 and closed the game on a 15-6 run.
Wisconsin canned 9 of 18 3-point attempts on the night, including 4 of 6 by Davison, but also got 18 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and a pair of blocks and steals from big man Ethan Happ. Eleventh in the nation allowing just 61.5 points, the Badgers allowed just two Maryland field goals the rest of the way after Ford's big basket.
Freshman Eric Ayala led the Terrapins, who have lost three of their last four, with 18 points, 13 in the first half. Fernando added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
After trailing most of the first half and heading to the break down 36-31, Wisconsin scored nine of the first 13 points after intermission to tie the game 40-40 with 16:10 to play. Happ used five free throws and a layup to author a 7-0 run, during which Maryland's Fernando went to the bench with three fouls.
Brevin Pritzl's corner 3-pointer just before the half had made the score 36-31 at the break. Maryland's torrid 55.6 shooting (15 of 27) in the opening 20 minutes had given the Terrapins a nine-point lead, first after a 12-3 run that closed with Ayala's jumper to make it 26-17 at 7:27.
The Terrapins were particularly effective from distance, hitting 6-for-10 3-point attempts, including 3-for-3 from Ayala, the Big Ten leader in 3-point percentage. Back-to-back triples by Ayala and Anthony Cowan Jr. had Maryland in front 36-27, but the Terrapins did not score the last 3:17 of the first half.
Maryland won the first meeting with the Badgers, taking a 64-60 decision in College Park when they squandered a 21-point lead and then came back to win at the end.
The Terrapins' tough stretch continues on the road at Nebraska Feb. 6. Wisconsin plays at Minnesota that same night.
--Field Level Media
|Eric Ayala 18||Scoring||Brad Davison 21|
|Anthony Cowan Jr. 3||Assists||Ethan Happ 6|
|Bruno Fernando 10||Rebounds||Ethan Happ 11|
|Anthony Cowan Jr. 1||Free Throws Made||Ethan Happ 6|
|Bruno Fernando 1||Steals||Brad Davison 2|
|Eric Ayala 2||Blocks||Ethan Happ 2|