MADISON, Wis. (AP)Chucky Hepburn scored 13 points and Steven Crowl added 12 as Wisconsin handed No. 13 Maryland its first loss under coach Kevin Willard, 64-59 on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin (7-2, 1-0 Big Ten) opened a 58-45 lead with a 13-point run, capped by Crowl’s two free throws with 3:46 remaining. The Badgers hung on despite making just 15 of 25 free throws in the second half and no field goals over the final 4:03.
”We make it harder on ourselves at times than we need to,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. ”But we were able to do just enough to close it out.”
Jahmir Young scored 17 points and Julian Reese had 10 for Maryland (8-1, 1-1), which entered averaging 80.8 points per game and outscoring opponents by 19.8.
Young and Donald Carey hit late 3-pointers to get the Terrapins within 58-53, and Young made another 3 to make it 63-59, but Maryland never got within one possession in the closing stretch.
”We have a lot of guys that are kind of going through this the first time, that haven’t played the Wisconsins,” Willard said. ”You can show film and you can talk to them about it, but I think – and Jahmir will tell you – until you kind of experience it and go through it a little bit . again, their physicality, even on the offensive (end), kind of caught us by surprise.”
The Terps entered shooting 49.3%, but were held to a season-low 38.2% (21 of 55).
”I think we worked really well on the defensive side,” Hepburn said. ”That’s what kind of forced them to take a couple tough shots late in the second half. They did get some open room, but when you play solid defense, it just makes up for missing free throws.”
Crowl hit a short jumper that put Wisconsin in front 27-15 in the first half, but Maryland answered with an 11-point run, hitting four consecutive shots, including three from beyond the arc.
The Terps tied it 29-29 on Carey’s step-back 3-pointer with 52 seconds left in the half.
”They remind me a lot of Villanova, the Big Ten version of Villanova,” said Willard, who spent the previous 12 seasons at Seton Hall in the Big East. ”They’re going to do what they do. They don’t get away from it.”
Maryland: The Terps were 8-0 for the first time since 2019-20 when they won the Big Ten championship under Willard’s predecessor, Mark Turgeon.
Wisconsin: The Badgers improved to 6-0 this season when holding opponents to 60 points or fewer.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Wisconsin’s last six games have been decided by five points or fewer. The Badgers’ two losses in that span were 69-68 in overtime to current No. 6 Kansas on a last-second putback in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament and a 78-75 loss at home to Wake Forest.
”These guys have gotten a lot of experience, got their feet to the fire, which is what we needed,” Gard said. ”It forces growth when you have to really buckle down and play.”
Maryland plays No. 7 Tennessee on Sunday at Barclays Center in New York.
Wisconsin is at Iowa on Sunday.
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