Three Observations from Wisconsin's Win vs No. 17 Maryland
MADISON -- After allowing Maryland to come back to take the lead in the second half, something seen last week in a home loss to Illinois, Wisconsin fought back and eventually pulled off a 56-54 win inside the Kohl Center on Tuesday night.
Wisconsin (11-6, 4-2 Big Ten) saw big contributions from a trio of juniors, and despite struggling to stop its opponent to start the final 20-minute period, made enough adjustments and plays to put together a winning streak.
AllBadgers.com presents three observations from a victory against the No. 17 team in the nation.
Brad Davison redeems shot clock violation with defensive play, clutch three-pointer
What a wild finish for the junior guard. With Wisconsin trailing by one at 54-53, Davison appeared to attempt to draw or contact on a shot as the seconds ticked down. The attempt did not hit rim and led to a shot clock violation.
The next ensuing inbounds pass for Maryland, Davison's hustle play in trailing allowed him to make a steal and deflect the ball off of guard Darryl Morsell, who was still out of bounds. That gave Wisconsin possession back with 12.4 seconds remaining and set up for another opportunity to take the lead late.
"Defensively, we knew we had the possession and the jump ball arrow so we weren't going to try to foul right away," Davison explained after the game. "We're gonna try to get a steal, whether that was after they got the inbounds pass in, or if we could get a tipped pass.
"So I was trying to give Cowan a little bit, they did a little crisscross, and I kind of ended up on Cowan. I knew that's who they wanted to get the ball to, so I tried to give him a little cushion to try to bait him into throwing it. It worked out where I was able to get a hand on it. Then, I hit it a little too hard so it was going to go out of bounds. I wasn't able to grab it so kind of my only opportunity there was to try to find a Maryland guy to throw it off off, and luckily Morsell was still standing there from throwing the ball in."
On the ensuing possession for Wisconsin, Davison then caught the ball off the right corner and drilled a three-pointer for the eventual game-winner with just over 11 seconds remaining.
"It was more or less knowing we had a lot of time with 12 seconds that we didn't necessarily have to shoot it if it wasn't going to be open," head coach Greg Gard said. "But obviously he came pretty clean, and he's very courageous. That play he made to steal it and to have the wherewithal to throw it off the guy's leg out of bounds, the kid's a winner. He just makes winning plays and turned around, then made another one."
Davison finished with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting -- 2-of-5 from three-point range -- along with three rebounds. His final attempt of the evening put Wisconsin ahead for good in dramatic fashion.
"Those are shots that we drill, whether it's in practice, or if I'm in here late nights, early mornings, those are kind of shots that you dream about and you think about," Davison said. "So to have the opportunity, very thankful for that opportunity and see the ball drop -- but most importantly, that's a big win for this team. Whenever you can stack two wins in a row in this league, especially this year, it goes a long ways and it'll make Friday a really fun game (against Michigan State)."
Second half sees another opponent nearly gain another win inside the Kohl Center, but Wisconsin turns it around
Maryland (13-4, 3-3) eventually cooled to below 50% shooting in the final 20 minutes to finish at 45.5% (40.4 for the game). After Davison's pair or free throws at the 17:53 mark, however, UMD pulled off a 12-4 run in a 5:12 span to take a three-point advantage over UW.
The Terps also out-rebounded the Badgers by a 17-8 margin in that frame. That included seven offensive rebounds, though Mark Turgeon's team only scored five of its nine second-chance points in the second half.
Anthony Cowan, Jr. and Jalen Smith combined for 20 points on 7-of-13 shooting after halftime. For that matter, Cowan (16), Smith (18) and guard Aaron Wiggins (13) eventually all scored in double figures for the Terps on the evening.
At one point, Maryland pulled off its biggest lead of the night at 49-44 with 7:33 to play after a Smith completing a three-point play. However, Wisconsin worked to whittle the deficit down over time, locked down on defense enough and eventually retook a lead at 51-50 on Kobe King's layup with 2:51 to play.
From the 6:42 mark to 2:30 left in the game, Maryland made just one of five attempts from the field and scored just one point (a Smith free throw) before a Wiggins layup.
We will discuss more about Micah Potter's and Nate Reuvers' offensive performances below, but many on social media were wondering about the former's presence (or lack thereof) for the last part of the game. He exited the game with 10:33 remaining in regulation and did not return to the floor.
"We were a little bit better on the ball screen and even we screwed it up late, and that's why I went more with Reuvers than Potter in the second half from a defensive standpoint," Gard said. "He's got more experience in that situation. There were times we didn't jam from the backside and Cowan puts you in a pickle. I mean he's a really good guard that kind of gets you on your heels and do you switch it, do you not switch it? Smith's ability to shoot the three, and then if they roll him and then they're back screening the screener and exiting a shooter out behind it with Wiggins or other guys they had brought off that in the first half.
"Just try to string it out the best you can and if he turns and goes downhill, we just did a good enough job, late we did. Nate tipped one of them and then they threw one off the backboard trying to get the lob in that little pocket that gets created."
Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter provide offensive boost
The duo showcased their offensive prowess again on the Kohl Center floor in combining for 31 of UW's 56 points on the night. Reuvers scored a team-high 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting in 26:58 of action. Seeing time on the floor for less than half that time (13:02) for the aforementioned reason, Potter added 14 points and hit on six of seven of his shots.
The forwards combined to make four three-pointers, and Potter continued his two-game hot streak from deep in connecting on two of his three opportunities.
Reuvers, Potter and Davison made 18 of 31 from the field when crunching their respective numbers together. The rest of the team? Four of 18 (22.2%) in field goal attempts.