Maryland coach Mark Turgeon wasn’t exactly pleased that the Big Ten schedule had his team on the road for a Christmas Day game followed by a trip to Wisconsin three later.
Now, he couldn’t be happier about it.
Eric Ayala scored 17 points, while Aaron Wiggins added 15 points and nine rebounds as Maryland beat No. 6 Wisconsin 70-64 on Monday night.
Coming in, the Terrapins were 0-2 in the conference, including a loss at Purdue on Friday, and their wins were against the likes of Mount St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s.
But Turgeon said he’s seen a difference in his team since losing 67-51 to Clemson on Dec. 9 and the late December road trip turned into a bonding experience that may become a building block for his team going forward.
“It was probably the best thing that happened to us,” Turgeon said. “We really grew in the last five days. A lot of meetings, a lot of being together.”
Maryland (6-3, 1-2 Big Ten) beat Wisconsin (8-2, 2-1) by refusing to let the Badgers have their bread-and-butter — the paint.
Maryland outscored Wisconsin 38-20 in the paint, limiting the Badgers’ post team of Nate Reuvers and Micah Potter to just 12 points on 6-of-18 shooting. Faced with a 3-2 zone in the second half, Wisconsin began to settle for 3-pointers.