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Maryland men’s basketball knocks off No. 6 Wisconsin, 70-64, for first win over top-10 team since 2016

Junior guard Eric Ayala scored all 17 of his points in the second half and junior guard Aaron Wiggins added 15 points as Maryland men’s basketball beat No. 6 Wisconsin, 70-64, at Kohl Center in Madison on Monday night.

The win marks the Terps’ first victory over a top-10 team since an upset of No. 3 Iowa on Jan. 28, 2016, and just the program’s third such win since joining the Big Ten in 2014. The last time Maryland beat a top-10 team on the road was Jan. 19, 2008, when it upset No. 1 North Carolina, 82-80, in Chapel Hill. The Terps had lost 17 consecutive true road games against Associated Press top-10 teams entering Monday’s game.

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Maryland (6-3, 1-2 Big Ten) responded from a shooting slump that lasted from the 3:37 mark of the first half to the 16:14 mark of the second half — 11 straight missed shot attempts — to make nine straight field goals over almost seven minutes en route to picking up its first conference win of the season, and the first over a Power Five opponent. The victory also ended Wisconsin’s 10-game conference winning streak.

The Terps shot 64% from the field in the second half and made 11 of their final 12 field-goal attempts.

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After a 73-70 loss to Purdue on Christmas Day in which Maryland missed 11 of 21 free throws, the Terps made 12 of 15 from the free-throw line against Wisconsin (8-2, 2-1 Big Ten) and several late to hold off a late comeback bid.

“We really grew in the last five days,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “A lot of meetings, a lot of just being together. And we were terrific in practice [Sunday] so you kind of knew our guys were going to compete. And we just made enough shots and enough free throws to pull this one out.”

Wisconsin took a 20-17 lead with 5:30 left in the first half with a 6-0 run, prompting Turgeon to call a timeout. The Terps responded well afterward, with a dunk by senior guard Darryl Morsell (eight points) cutting the Badgers’ lead to 25-24 with 3:37 remaining. But that slam would be the final field goal of the half for either team.

Maryland missed its final five field-goal attempts and went scoreless for the remainder of the first half. Wisconsin didn’t score over the final 3:58 but a trio of made free throws by senior guard D’Mitrik Trice (game-high 25 points) gave the Badgers a 28-24 lead at halftime.

Both teams shot 10-for-27 from the field in the first half but Wisconsin made just five of 10 free throws. The Badgers missed seven of 15 for the entire game.

Maryland’s offensive struggles continued into the second half, with a post layup from Ayala breaking the streak of 11 straight missed shots.

“It was just a matter of us executing plays, making sure we were getting good looks,” Wiggins said of the turnaround on offense. “At one point, we were just coming down and we were just shooting the first shot that we had open after guarding 25 seconds on the defensive end. It was just a matter of us getting good shots.

“There have been multiple times where our team, we might not be shooting the ball well but we’re still able to go on a run eventually. Or we know that our time is coming because basketball is just a game of runs and when things aren’t going our way, we know it’s just a matter of time before things flip and we have a little run in us.”

Out of the under-16 media timeout, with his team down 34-28, a savvy adjustment from Turgeon, switching from man-to-man to a full-court press and then 3-2 zone defense, sparked an 8-0 run. Wiggins intercepted a pass for a breakaway dunk to tie the game at 34 with 13:29 left.

“We knew we were going to play some 3-2 [zone],” Turgeon said. “We thought we could use it against this team, we’ve used it in the past and it was good for us. It kind of got a little bit [off-kilter] and then [Wisconsin forward Nate] Reuvers hit a couple from the high post. [The zone] kind of gave us confidence. It got our offense going because we got some easy ones.”

A 3-pointer by junior forward Jairus Hamilton (nine points) gave Maryland a 54-52 lead with 5:09 remaining and the Terps led for the remainder of the game.

After a 3-pointer by Trice, Maryland led 60-59 with 1:58 left. Two consecutive baskets by sophomore forward Donta Scott (12 points), including a strong two-handed dunk over multiple Wisconsin players, gave the Terps a 5-point lead with 57 seconds left and a string of free throws sealed an impressive win for a Maryland team that had lost three of its past four games.

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“I was disappointed in the way we ended the Purdue game,” Turgeon said. “I thought we were going to pull that one out. We weren’t able to do it, but we’re growing. We’ve gotten so much better since the Clemson game. We just get a little bit better every game, we get a little bit tougher and it finally came all together tonight.”

NO. 16 MICHIGAN@MARYLAND

Thursday, 7 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 105.7 FM, 1300 AM

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