Wisconsin throttles Maryland basketball to end its season

Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn received the pass near the top of the key, well behind the three-point line. Hepburn didn’t think twice as he released his shot from where he stood, normally a shot that one wouldn’t even think of shooting. The shot went in.

Hepburn’s three-pointer was one of 16 made three-pointers for the Badgers beating the Maryland Terrapins, 87-56, in game two of the Big Ten Tournament.  

Wisconsin’s 16 made threes were the most Maryland has given up to any opponent all year. It was also the largest loss of the year for Maryland.  

The barrage from behind the arc started as soon as the game tipped off. 

Wisconsin rarely missed in the first half shooting over 60% from the floor. The more impressive feat was that the Badgers shot over 75% from beyond the three-point arc, making 10 of their 13 attempts. This was the third time all season that the Terps gave up double-digit three-point makes in a game, let alone a half. 

“They shot at such a high percentage from three and, you know, we couldn’t run them off the line,” said Young. 

The Badgers’ offense was led by Steven Crowl and John Blackwell. Both ended the first half with 14 points and perfect showing from the three-point line. Blackwell did all his damage in 13 minutes coming off the bench. 

Jahmir Young led the Terps with 15 points at halftime making seven of his 11 field goals. The rest of Maryland’s lineup combined for 11 points on five for 17 shooting. Maryland scored on 12 of its 29 offensive possessions in the first half, and went into the break trailing, 47-26. 

“I was just trying to tell them, I mean, it’s 20 minutes left, just to try and leave it all on the floor and just take it one possession at a time,” said Young. “But the game got a little ahead of us and we couldn’t fight back.”

The Terps didn’t score a bucket in the second half until DeShawn Harris-Smith’s first three-point make of the game with a little under 15 minutes to go. Wisconsin continued its offensive prowess throughout the start of the second half increasing its lead to 42 points at its highest. 

Maryland had no answers for the Badgers’ offense which finished shooting over 50% from the floor and 64% from behind the three-point line. Four Badgers ended with double-figure points, led by Blackwell who finished the game with 18. Blackwell’s 18 helped give Wisconsin a 37 to five bench points advantage. 

“We were gonna play Blackwell as a driver just because he’d been driving the basketball so well, he played really well the last four games,” said head coach Kevin Willard. “Three games I think he scored in, the last [three] double digits and he was excellent against Purdue. You know, made a couple of shots early and they got going and give them credit they just kept going.” 

The Terps finished with three players in double-figures led by Young with 18. Harris-Smith and Julian Reese were the other two, scoring 16 and 10, respectively. The trio of Terps combined for 44 of Maryland’s 56 points, shooting 47% from the floor. 

Maryland as a team shot under 40% from the field for the game, making seven of its 15 three-point attempts. 

The loss ends Maryland’s season in disappointment, a feeling many Terps fans have felt throughout most of the season. 

“As the year went on I was just really, really shocked at how much we struggled to shoot the basketball,” said Willard. “I just think our inability to make shots just led to nine, three points or less losses. And that adds up I mean, it just wears you down a little bit, wears you down as a player, wears you down as a coach, and I know it wore the fanbase down.”

“So, you know, we’ll retool the roster and we’ll be back next year.”