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Fifth-ranked Wisconsin can't complete comeback bid, falls to No. 14 Maryland 59-53

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COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Playing for the chance to earn at least a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, Wisconsin came up with a clunker of a first half that proved to be too much to overcome.

The fifth-ranked Badgers scored only 20 points before halftime against No. 14 Maryland, and a late rally didn't blunt the disappointment of a 59-53 defeat Tuesday night.

Wisconsin (25-3, 13-2) had its 10-game winning streak end and now must have to wait at least until the weekend to claim the conference crown.

Blame it on a first half in which the Badgers shot 30 percent, including 1 for 11 from beyond the arc. It was the fewest points scored by Wisconsin in a half this season.

"They played better in the first half," Wisconsin's Sam Dekker said. "They came at us right away. They were the aggressors. You got to react better to the game better than we did in the first half. In the second half, I thought we picked it up, but it was a little too late."

After trailing by 11 at the break, the Badgers pulled even at 47 with 6 minutes left before Maryland closed the game with a 12-6 run.

"They made plays and we didn't down the stretch," Dekker said. "That's the different between a win and a loss."

Frank Kaminsky scored 18 for Wisconsin and Dekker added 14. The Badgers' winning streak was their longest since an 11-game run in 1941 to win the national championship.

Wisconsin hadn't lost since Jan. 11 at Rutgers.

"We were close a couple of times but we just couldn't do it. It's definitely frustrating," Kaminsky said. "We've had a great season so far. We've haven't really been tested like this many times like this. ... I think we're going to learn a lot from it."

Dez Wells scored 26 points for the Terrapins (23-5, 11-4) and Melo Trimble had 16.

The victory improved Maryland's home record to 17-1. The Terrapins are 9-0 in games decided by six points or fewer, and they've won their last three by a total of 17 points.

"We are what we are. We figure out a way to win," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We compete when we have to. I'll take close wins as long as we keep winning. We're really becoming gritty and tough."

Maryland led 55-52 before Trimble made a driving layup and was fouled. He missed the free throw, but after Wisconsin misfired twice on the other end, Trimble iced it with a pair of foul shots. The Terrapins missed nine of their last 10 shots.

PHOTO: Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) shoots against Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky, from left, guard Josh Gasser and guard Bronson Koenig in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) shoots against Wisconsin forward Frank Kaminsky, from left, guard Josh Gasser and guard Bronson Koenig in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

After the final buzzer, hundreds of fans stormed the court to celebrate the Terrapins' most significant win in their inaugural Big Ten season.

Wisconsin opened the second half with a 13-4 run to close to 35-33. Kaminsky made three baskets during the spree and Josh Gasser made Wisconsin's second 3-pointer of the game.

After Maryland bolstered the margin back to six points, Dekker made a pair of 3-pointers and Nigel Hayes connected from beyond the arc to bring the Badgers to 45-44 with 8 minutes remaining.

The game was tied before Wells made four straight free throws to put Maryland ahead for good. His dunk made it 53-48 with 4 minutes to go.

GREAT ATMOSPHERE

Even in defeat, the Badgers appreciated the enthusiasm of the sellout crowd.

"Man, this place is great," Dekker said. "I can't say enough about how great their fans were. They were into it right away. It was a pleasure playing here."

Turgeon was appreciative, too.

"Our student section gave us great energy. We fed off that," he said.

TIP-INS

Wisconsin: The Badgers fell to 8-2 on the road. ... Wisconsin came in leading the nation with fewest fouls (12.7) and fewest turnovers (7.4) per game. In this one, the Badgers were called for 12 fouls and had eight turnovers. ... Dekker was coming off a career-high, 22-point effort against Penn State.

Maryland: Wells has scored in double figures in eight straight games. He moved past Joe Smith into 25th place on the school scoring list. ... Michal Cekovsky, a 7-foot-1 center, played 14 minutes in the first half, matching his total over his the last three games. He was used with Damonte Dodd to clog the inside against Kaminsky. He finished with four points and six rebounds.

UP NEXT

Wisconsin: hosts Michigan State on Sunday.

Maryland: hosts Michigan on Saturday.

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