In the battle of number one versus number two, the Wisconsin Badgers squared off against the Maryland Terrapins in a Big Ten Conference matchup. Frank Kaminsky has been leading the Badgers up to this point with great performances game in and game out. He is one of three players in the NCAA to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. But on this night, the Terps took the win 59-53 behind Dezmine Wells‘ 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists. The always-productive freshman, Melo Trimble, had 16 points, four rebounds and two assists. Wells and Trimble combined for 42 of the Terps’ 59 points.
The Terps were able to use the transition game and push the ball down the court as a result of great defense. Defensively, they played at Wisconsin’s pace by pressing the ball; and it helped that the Badgers were unable to get the ball in the basket from the three-point line.
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As I predicted in my preview article for this matchup, the last five minutes would determine this game. I was right! The Terrapins led at the half by 11, 31-20. The Badgers went 11-for-15 in the second half to tie the game at 47 with under six minutes to go. Maryland was able to get on a roll and spring to a lead. Defense was the story for the Terps in their win against Wisconsin, and they have Michal Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd and Jake Layman to thank for putting pressure on Frank Kaminsky when it mattered. Even though he had a good game, the Terps shut him down and didn’t allow him to be in a position to win the game for the Badgers.
I have a player of the game and an honorable mention.
Player of the Game: My player of the game is Dez Wells. He played out of his mind and showed his leadership through action. His aggressiveness going to the basket on the fast break was a sight to see, and his stat line was awesome – would be great to have that in any game.
Honorable Mention: Michal Cekovsky played an outstanding defensive game for the Terps in trying to defend Kaminsky and Wisconsin’s total inside game. He provided a huge boost for the team off the bench after not playing much of any basketball the last two games. I was hoping he would get on the floor to combat Kaminsky, and he definitely performed.
With three games to go this season, the Maryland Terrapins are in good shape heading into NCAA Tournament time. Next up on the schedule they play the Michigan Wolverines for Senior Night at the Xfinity Center. Game time is at noon, Saturday, February 28th.