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Instant analysis: No. 19 Maryland blows 21-point lead but survives to beat Wisconsin, 64-60

COLLEGE PARK — In its two days of on and off-court preparation for Monday night’s game against Wisconsin at Xfinity Center, the Maryland men’s basketball team focused a good deal of attention on two disparate goals.

The Terps must have forgotten to talk about what to do with a 21-point lead.

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Leading by 20 points in the first half and by 21 early in the second, Maryland survived a flurry of 3-pointers by the suddenly hot-shooting Badgers and won, 64-60, when a potential game-tying 3 by sophomore forward Nate Reuvers spun out in the closing seconds.

Maryland jumped back into the Top 25 for the first time in over a month, getting to No. 19 on the strength of beating two ranked teams in its current five-game winning streak.

Hours after returning to the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in over a month, No. 19 Maryland (15-3, 6-1) won its sixth straight game. Junior guard Anthony Cowan Jr., who had very little to do with their big lead, had a lot to do with the Terps holding on. Cowan led the Terps with 21 points, including 19 in the second half.

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After struggling to score in the first half of Friday night’s 78-75 win over then-No. 22 Indiana, the Terps scored on eight of their first 12 possessions of the game to build an early 20-10 lead. They doubled it to 20, 33-13, late in the half.

Despite not scoring for the last 4½ minutes of the half, Maryland led 33-15 at halftime because Wisconsin also went a little over the last four minutes without a point. The difference in the half was the Terps hitting five of 10 3-pointers, compared with 0-for-8 by the Badgers.

Maryland junior Anthony Cowan Jr. has averaged 19 points and close to five assists a game during his basketball team's five-game winning streak.

Leading by as many as 21 points, 38-17, with 17:47 remaining, Maryland watched Wisconsin cut its deficit to 10, 51-41, when Reuvers hit three straight shots, including a pair of 3-pointers.

The hot shooting by the Badgers continued, and a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Brad Davison gave Wisconsin a 60-59 lead. After Cowan turned the ball over, a quick 3-pointer by Davison that missed opened the door for the Terps. Cowan answered with a trademark end-of-shot clock 3.

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Reuvers, who led Wisconsin (11-6, 3-3) with a career-high 18 points — all in the second half — watched as his wide-open 3-point attempt after a timeout rimmed out. Maryland got the rebound and Cowan hit the first of two free throws with 1.9 seconds left, then missed the second on purpose.

Instant analysis

This could have been a devastating loss for Maryland and coach Mark Turgeon. With the fans getting a little testy as the Terps saw their big lead turn into a deficit, Cowan saved his young team from self-destructing and his coach from being second-guessed for not playing sophomore center Bruno Fernando for a long stretch after picking up his third personal foul.

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