Everything was going smoothly for Wisconsin in the first two months of the season. The Badgers were 11-2 and had reached a rank of No. 14.
But then Tyler Wahl injured his ankle. Minus its most experienced player, Wisconsin lost three straight games. Wahl has since returned but the Badgers have continued to struggle.
Wisconsin (12-6, 4-4 Big Ten) will try to recapture its groove in a rematch with Maryland (12-7, 3-5) on Wednesday night in College Park, Md. The Badgers began Big Ten play with a 64-59 defeat of the Terrapins on Dec. 6.
Wisconsin’s frustration continued Monday night with a 66-63 loss at Northwestern. After Stephen Crowl’s layup gave Wisconsin a 61-60 lead, the Badgers missed their final seven shots from the floor and three of their five free throws.
“So many self-inflicted things that we did between the fouling, the unnecessary turnovers and then down the stretch,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said.
Jordan Davis led Wisconsin with 15 points. Chuckie Hepburn added 12 points but made only 4 of 16 shots from the floor.
Wahl, who returned last week as Wisconsin had difficulty putting away Penn State, 63-60, has yet to play to his form. He had 11 points and four turnovers against Northwestern.
Just as Wisconsin did Monday, Maryland missed its final seven shots in a winnable game Sunday. But considering the 58-55 defeat came at Purdue, which is now ranked No. 1, there were positives for the Terps.
Maryland had a sizable problem with 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey (24 points, 16 rebounds) but held the rest of the Boilermakers to 10-for-35 shooting.
Julian Reese had his hands full with Edey and was in foul trouble throughout but still scored 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
“We can play with anybody in the country if we could bring that for 40 minutes,” said the Terps’ Jahmir Young, who scored all 10 of his points in the final 15 minutes to spark a rally from 16 points down.
Maryland has been the most site-dependent team in the league. In the Big Ten, the Terps have gone 3-0 at home and 0-5 on the road.