Sconnie Sports Talk

Wisconsin’s tournament hopes fading as Trimble’s last second shot sinks Badgers, 63-60


Madison, WI — Wisconsin came in hungry for an upset, but fell short in an epic game at the Kohl Center on Saturday.

The Badgers (9-8 overall, 1-3 Big Ten) were down 60-54 with 1:19 left to play, and came back to tie the game on a Zak Showalter three-pointer with 1:05 remaining followed by a Bronson Koenig step-back three-pointer with 23 seconds on the clock. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, Trimble sunk a deep three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to win the game. A Nigel Hayes heave fell short, and #3 Maryland (15-1, 4-0) escaped, 63-60.

Trimble finished with 21 points on 9-17 shooting (3-7 from three) with five assists in 35 minutes. Wisconsin held him in check to start the second half, as he went 0-3, taking bad shots. But, the Badgers could not stop him down the stretch, as the sophomore All-American to-be went 4-4 for 10 straight points from the 9-minute mark to 6:50, and ended up sealing the deal in the closing seconds.

“Melo was Melo. We all expected him to make it,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game.

Lack of Consistency Leads to Another Loss

Hayes had 14 points in the first half on 5-7 shooting (2-2 from three), but struggled in the second half. The junior forward shot only 1-8 in the last 20 minutes, as Maryland adjusted against him and limiting him to 3 points in the half. Credit the Terrapins’ Robert Carter for excellent defense, while Maryland used excellent help defense against Wisconsin’s best player. Hayes also told reporters that he hit his funny bone down the stretch, and it was bothering him.

The Badgers played solid defense throughout the game despite Maryland shooting 52% from the field. The Badgers held a Maryland team that came in averaging 79.5 points per game to only 63. Gard’s team held the opposing team to under one point per possession for the 10th straight game, but it still wasn’t enough.

“We just have to find ways to win, not ways to lose,” Koenig reiterated later on.

Wisconsin freshman forward Ethan Happ was able to put together another double-double, his sixth of the season. Finishing with 16 points (8-14 from the field) and 11 rebounds, Happ kept the team in the game in the second half. Still, he missed four point-blank layups that the team could have used. After the game, Gard said the team’s statisticians told him the Badgers left 28 points on the board inside five feet from the basket.

Stone Returns to Wisconsin

This game also marked the return of Milwaukee (Dominican High School) native Diamond Stone, who was not very welcomed at the Kohl Center. He was booed during warm-ups and screamed at throughout, with cheers of “A-C-T,” “You Can’t Read,” and “Badger Reject” at the 18-year old.

“For Diamond, I think he showed a lot of matureness,” Trimble said after the game. “I think if any player was going to go back to their hometown like that, it would kind of get out of control. I think Diamond just went out there and played like he normally does. He didn’t let the crowd affect him. And of course it was extra motivation for him, but it was for us too.”

Withstanding the Grateful Red’s displeasure, Stone put together a solid performance with 11 points and 4 rebounds. He looked flustered at times, but he kept his composure.

“I feel like that meant a lot to him, to be able to come back here to play in front of his family and friends,” Carter added.

What’s Next for Wisconsin?

“I told them there is no pity party here,” Gard explained. “Nobody feels sorry for us. We need to turn around and prepare for Northwestern.”

The Badgers’ 9-8 record is not going to impress anybody on the NCAA Tournament committee, despite losing five games by three points or less. With at least five more tough Big Ten games on the schedule, the Badgers will need to put together a successful stretch in the next two months if Gard’s group hopes to have any chance of dancing in March.

Wisconsin will take on Northwestern on Tuesday night, January 12, in Evanston at 6:00 PM.

Photo from Andy Manis / Associated Press.