Wisconsin enters Monday’s matchup against visiting Maryland with a 10-game winning streak in Big Ten play dating to last season.
Two constants have helped fuel the No. 9 Badgers along the way.
“We’ve got a lot of heart,” Wisconsin’s D’Mitrik Trice said. “Obviously, we’ve got a lot of experience.”
Wisconsin (8-1, 2-0 Big Ten) certainly channeled both attributes during Friday’s 85-76 at No. 12 Michigan State.
Trailing by nine points in a venue in which the program hasn’t won since 2004, the Badgers relied on steady leadership from Trice and a supporting cast. Trice scored a season-high 29 points and Aleem Ford added 13 points with Brad Davison and Micah Potter scoring 11 points apiece.
“When we got down nine … we could have folded and we could have let them continue to go on their run, but we battled back, and we got a lot of guys that can make a lot of plays in big-time moments,” Trice said.
Trice scored the first 13 points of the second half to spark Wisconsin, which shot 51.9 percent from the floor, including 42.1 percent from 3-point range.
“Just so proud of our guys, how they persevered, how they battled,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said.
Maryland (5-3, 0-2) showed some grit of its own on Friday at Purdue, but the Terrapins ultimately were unable to recover from a 15-point deficit in a 73-70 loss.
Donta Scott scored 15 points for Maryland, including two on a layup that tied the game at 70 with 58 seconds to go. The Terrapins couldn’t close down the stretch, and were just 10-for-21 from the free throw line.
“I think we battled throughout the whole game. We started down early and we played hard,” said Eric Ayala (13 points), one of four Terrapins in double figures.
“We lost by three points. You know, we could look back at a ton of things that can make up for those three points. Free throws. Communication on defense. I think we’ll learn a lot from it.”
Maryland has lost three of four, but Friday’s defeat was the only one during that stretch in which the Terrapins remained within single digits.
While coach Mark Turgeon admitted that the Terrapins “weren’t good enough defensively to win” at Purdue, he lauded the team’s cohesion and effort to make things close following a sizable early deficit.
“We battled. A lot of guys played well, did a lot of great things,” Turgeon said. “Our post defense was terrific. Our perimeter wasn’t good enough, whether getting beat off the dribble or giving up 3s. But our guys battled and that’s all I can ask. We always felt like we were going to win and we didn’t, but we always felt like we were going to win. We just couldn’t get over the hump at the very end.”
Wisconsin and Maryland played a nail-biter last season, with Davison draining a 3-pointer with 11 seconds to go to fuel the Badgers’ 56-54 home victory.
–Field Level Media