College Park, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - The Big Ten rookies are making their move, but still need a lot of help.
Dez Wells helped Maryland take a huge step Tuesday night.
Wells had 26 points, seven rebounds and four assists as the 14th-ranked Terrapins climbed back into the Big Ten race with a 59-53 win over No. 5 Wisconsin.
The Badgers stormed back from an 11-point halftime hole by hitting 11 of their first 15 shots to start the second half and tie the game at 47-47 with 6:36 remaining.
Wells took over from there, sinking four straight free throws before capping the Terps' 6-1 spurt by blowing by Sam Dekker along the left wing and finishing with an emphatic one-handed baseline dunk. His slam staked Maryland to a 53-48 advantage with just over four minutes to play, and Wisconsin never got within less than three the rest of the way.
"Dez Wells was terrific. He was not going to let us lose," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said.
Maryland (23-5, 11-4 Big Ten) trails Wisconsin (25-3, 13-2) by two games for first place in the conference with three to play for each team.
Unless Wisconsin loses the rest of the way, the Terps would have to win out against Michigan at home and at Rutgers and Nebraska, while the Badgers would have to lose two of their last three to forge a tie. They play Michigan State at home before closing the regular season with road tilts against Minnesota and Ohio State.
Melo Trimble added 16 points for Maryland, which has won four straight games.
Frank Kaminsky provided 18 points and eight rebounds for the Badgers, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped, while Dekker supplied 14 points and nine boards
"The second half is how we have to play all the time. We dug ourselves into a hole and we couldn't get out," Kaminsky said.
Wells netted 12 quick points and the Terps connected on 10 of their first 14 attempts from the floor as they raced out to a 23-12 advantage with 8:21 left in the first half. Maryland led 31-20 at the break.
The Badgers shot just 29.6 percent (8-of-27) and misfired on 10-of-11 attempts from beyond the arc over the first 20 minutes.
Kaminsky jump-started a 9-2 swing with a jumper, then nailed another to cap it and claw Wisconsin within 37-35 six-plus minutes into the second half.
The most recent matchup between the teams came in November of 2009. The Badgers had won the last two meetings ... Wisconsin's 10-game conference winning streak was its longest since an 11-game run during the 1940-41 season ... Wells finished 9-of-17 from the field, while Trimble was 7-of-14 ... The Badgers were 5-of-11 from long distance in the second half.