Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin fends off Maryland 74-70 at Kohl Center

Badgers reach 10 wins in conference behind free throw shooting, defense
Jacob Duran

As University of Wisconsin men’s basketball head coach Greg Gard put it postgame, Tuesday’s matchup was a “classic Big Ten battle.”

Both UW (39) and the University of Maryland (6) entered the contest in the top-40 in KenPom’s defensive efficiency rating, and the final score wasn’t indicative of just how defensive-oriented the game was.

In the final minute of regulation, there were 28 combined points scored — 14 by each side.


After guard Max Klesmit nailed a pull-up 3-pointer with 56 seconds left to put the Badgers up seven, Maryland was forced to intentionally foul for the remainder of the game.

Despite the Badgers knocking down 11 of their 12 free throw attempts in that stretch, Maryland made it a two-point game with two seconds on the clock after making three triples, and even forced UW to burn their final two timeouts to avoid a five-second call on the inbounds pass.

But, the Badgers clutch free throw shooting held off the pesky Terrapins —allowing the team to advance to 10-6 in conference play and reclaim sole possession of third place in the Big Ten.

Forward Tyler Wahl led the team in points with 18, while Klesmit finished with 16 (nine in the final minute). Guard AJ Storr fell two rebounds shy of his third double-double of the season with 10 points and eight rebounds on 5-for-13 shooting (0-for-3 3Pt).

Guard Jahmir Young — one of the most prolific scorers in the Big Ten — provided 20 points for Maryland, while forward Julian Reese accounted for 18 points, 7 rebounds and a pair of blocks.

UW probed the interior early and often, getting to the rim through the post or the dribble drive on each of their first five possessions to claim a 9-2 lead. They slowed up considerably following the opening burst — going without a field goal for nearly five minutes as Maryland retook the lead 14-11.

The Badgers had turned the ball over eight times by the seven-minute mark —many coming out of post double-teams — that resulted in 10 of the Terrapins’ first 20 points.

Despite the flurry of turnovers, UW was able to keep up with Maryland — and even got a poster dunk from Storr — before riding a 9-2 run into the break to notch a 37-29 halftime lead.

Both offenses ran dry to start the second half, shooting a combined 5-for-18 from the field until the 12:20 mark. The Badgers especially struggled at producing good looks—going scoreless for over three minutes leading into the under-12 media timeout.

Men’s Basketball: Wisconsin endures heartbreak, loses 88–86 to Iowa in overtime

Coming out of the pause, guard John Blackwell delivered four consecutive points, kick-starting the UW attack at a critical time.

“Blackwell was huge for us tonight,” Gard said. “He does things you can’t teach, that’s an innate feel.”

Blackwell finished with nine points in 14 minutes off the bench, and while he only attempted two field goals, he got to the free throw line eight times — tying for the team high.

The freshman guard drew high praise from forward Steven Crowl, too.

“He does all the little defensive things,” Crowl said. “Outside of Chucky [Hepburn] he’s one of our best on-ball defenders … he’s only going to get better.”

While the Badgers had to put in plenty of work in the final minute to close out the win, they carried a multi-possession lead for most of the second half, and never trailed in the period.

After dropping five of their last six games — including Saturday’s overtime loss at Iowa — the starting five was tasked with big minutes Tuesday. Crowl, Wahl, Klesmit and Hepburn each played at least 33 minutes while Blackwell was the lone reserve to surpass 10 minutes.

“We had to do what we had to do to take care of business,” Gard said about the minutes distribution. “You’re in the here … who cares if we played tomorrow, today’s the most important day.”

Despite the first unit’s heavy minutes, there was a noticeable rotation change from Gard.

Junior forward Markus Ilver operated as the team’s backup power forward, a role that had primarily been left to forward Carter Gilmore this season.

Ilver logged seven minutes off of the bench — a significant number to allow Wahl a period of rest.

“He’s really smart, he picks things up quick, he’s getting more physical,” Gard said. “I thought he gave us the minutes I was looking for to spell Tyler [Wahl].”f

The Badgers will have a full week off before their next game, which comes at Indiana University on Feb. 27, a much needed break for a team that hasn’t had a week off since mid-December.

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