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Maryland men’s basketball’s big second-half comeback falls short in 61-55 loss to No. 14 Wisconsin

COLLEGE PARK — The Maryland men’s basketball team cut into an 18-point halftime deficit but couldn’t overcome first-half offensive struggles and a season-high 23 points from center Micah Potter in a 61-55 loss to No. 14 Wisconsin on Wednesday night at Xfinity Center.

The Terps, who shot 25% in the first half, shot 48% in the second and pulled within three but fell short of completing the comeback to remain winless at home in Big Ten Conference play.

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Almost a month to the date, Maryland (9-8, 3-7 Big Ten) was dogged in attacking then-No. 6 Wisconsin (13-4, 7-3) inside (38 paint points) en route to a 70-64 road win, their first victory over a top-10 team since 2016 and their first of three road wins against ranked teams this season, a first for the program.

But in the rematch, Maryland primarily banked its hopes for another upset bid on outside shots, even though they weren’t connecting and the team fell behind. The Terps attempted 30 3-pointers, their second-most all season, but made just nine.

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“I think that’s what they were giving us and I think our shot selection was better in the second half,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Now we took a couple bad ones ... we had a lot of inside-out looks that were wide open too. We did a lot of things well. Were we perfect every possession? No, we weren’t. As any team, no. We were down, so we played that way, especially in the small lineup. But, I think we had some really good looks.”

Wisconsin went on an 8-0 run to take a 14-4 lead with 12:41 remaining in the first half. Maryland went scoreless for six minutes during that span. The Badgers raced to 38-20 advantage at halftime, shooting 46.9% from the field and 6-for-13 from 3-point range.

Maryland opened the second half on an 8-0 run, including two 3-pointers. The Terps later went on a 9-0 run to cut the Badgers’ lead to three, 43-40, with 11:45 remaining on a jumper by junior guard Aaron Wiggins, who scored a team-high 18 points.

An 11-0 run, including nine points from Potter, gave Wisconsin a 57-42 lead with 7:48 left. The Terps struggled with turnovers as they attempted to mount the comeback, committing four over a six-minute span.

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“I think we somewhat just lost our groove,” Wiggins said. “We just stopped guarding. We just lost a little bit of effort on the defensive end. We began to go shot-for-shot with them instead of trying to get more stops and continue to do it on the defensive end. Because when our offense isn’t going, our defense will keep us in the game. But, if we’re going back-and-forth and we’re not guarding, I think that’s what kind of switched up that flow of the game.”

A pair of 3-pointers by sophomore forward Donta Scott (13 points) and Wiggins cut the deficit to seven with under 2:09 remaining but Wisconsin iced the game with late free throws.

“We’re going to try to use the second half as a positive and see if we can win the next one,” Turgeon said.

PURDUE@MARYLAND

Tuesday, 8 p.m.

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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