The Wisconsin Badgers defense struggles with a loss in Maryland

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Wisconsin coach Greg Gard needs to feel like a laborer trying to patch multiple leaks.

Fix offense for a night – at least for a half – and defense becomes a problem for most of the game.

The Badgers scored well in spurts Wednesday night, but their defensive execution was abysmal against a Maryland team that’s been near perfect at home this season.

The Badgers entered the night and limited enemies to less than 43% shooting, but Maryland got into lane with ease en route to an easy 73-55 win at XFINITY Center.

BOX RESULT: maryland 73Wisconsin 55

UW averaged 42.4% shooting and 66.4 points per game in holding teams. The Terrapins shot 52.0% in the first half and built a 32-28 lead, hitting their first eight shots in the second half and finishing with 56% overall (28 of 50).

The Badgers (12-7, 4-5 Big Ten) suffered their fifth loss in their last six games, dipping below the .500 mark for the first time since the 2017-18 season when they started 2-3 and 2 in League game ended 7-11.

The five losses in six games is their worst stretch since 2020-21, when UW lost five of their last six regular-season games to finish 10-10 in the league.

Maryland (13-7, 4-5) improved their home record this season to 10-1, their only loss being a 27-point drubbing by UCLA.

The Terrapins won the rematch by dominating the suit. UW beat Maryland in the paint, 24-18, in the teams’ first meeting.

Maryland had a 38-22 advantage Wednesday.

Donta Scott and Hakim Hart combined for just 5 of 24 shots in the Terrapins’ 64-59 loss in Madison.

This duo hit 11 of 18 shots together on Wednesday.

Scott (11.8 ppg) contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. Hart (11.5 ppg) added 13 points and eight rebounds

Guard Jahmir Young (15.5 ppg) led Maryland with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Julian Reese (10.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg) was the receiver of dump offs on the lane, hitting 7 of 8 shots for 14 points.

Two days after losing just 38.6% and dropping three points at Northwestern, the Badgers got off to a sizzling start against Maryland. They hit 6 of their first 7 shots and finished the first half with 47.8%.

They trailed 32-28 because they couldn’t string stops together and only shot 33.3% in the second half.

Connor Essegian, 2nd of 8 from three-point range and 3rd of 11 overall at Northwestern, led UW on Wednesday with 19 points. He hit 4 of 6 threes and 6 of 12 shots overall.

Tyler Wahl and Steven Crowl added 13 and 11 points, respectively. However, they only managed six rebounds.

Carter Gilmore added six points, but Chucky Hepburn and Jordan Davis combined only hit 2 of 8 shots. They each scored three points.

UW was again without guard Max Klesmit, who missed his second straight game since he was elbowed in the face in the win over Penn State.

If you loved scoring goals then you loved the opening few minutes of Wednesday’s game.

Maryland hit 2 of 2 three-pointers and 6 of 9 shots overall and UW hit 2 of 2 three-pointers and 6 of 7 shots overall as the teams battled to a 14-14 14-20 tie at halftime.

Hepburn gave UW a 23-20 lead with a three-pointer with 5:59 left, but the Terrapins responded with a 12-0 run to take a 32-23 lead with 2:12 left.

Reese stared at the spout with a basket. Scott hit a free throw when Davis was called for a flop to draw a charge. Young hit with a drive, Scott hit a three, Young hit again and Reese hit inside to take the lead to nine.

UW, who were goalless on five consecutive possessions, ended the drought with a basket from Wahl. After a turnover in Maryland, Crowl hit a three-pointer to close the gap at 32-28 by 21 seconds.

Maryland called a timeout with 13.4 seconds left. UW had three fouls to call and used them all to reduce the time remaining to 4.7 seconds and Young missed a three-pointer on the buzzer.

The Terrapins were red hot to open the second half and UW couldn’t keep up.

Maryland hit the lane at will, hitting its first eight shots of the half to build a 49-36 lead with 15:09 left.

That forced Gard to take some time off and try to stop the bleeding.

Up to this point in the game, Maryland held a 32-12 point lead in the suit, shooting 63.6% overall (21 of 33).

UW never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

Next up for UW on Saturday is a home game against a hot Illinois team who were 5-4 in the league, 14-6 overall and stunned UW at the team meeting in Champaign.

What holes is Gard trying to plug next?

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