Junior transfer Micah Potter has made an impact at Wisconsin since his eligibility kicked into gear six games ago.
Potter delivered career highs with 24 points and 13 rebounds in Wisconsin’s 58-49 win against then-No. 20 Penn State on Saturday.
Potter and the Badgers (10-6, 3-2 Big Ten) aim for continued success on Tuesday when they host No. 17 Maryland in Madison.
Potter, a 6-foot-10 forward, waited 644 days between leaving Ohio State and playing his first Badgers game on Dec. 21.
“It was tough getting back into a rhythm once I was allowed to play, but I’m really starting to feel more comfortable now that I’ve got a couple games under my belt,” said Potter, who is typically first player off the bench and scored 18 first-half points against the Nittany Lions.
Maryland (13-3, 3-2) has struggled to win on the road, with an 0-3 record in true road games. The Terrapins’ most recent loss, a 67-49 setback at Iowa three days ago, left a bad taste in Maryland coach Mark Turgeon’s mouth.
“We stunk,” Turgeon told reporters. “I’ve been doing this a long time, and this ranks up there as one of the worst one of my teams have ever played.”
The Hawkeyes held the Terrapins to their second-lowest point total of the season and kept Maryland senior guard Anthony Cowan Jr. in check. Cowan, who averages a team-leading 16.2 points per game, scored nine at Iowa.
Turgeon said on Monday that the Terrapins had two good days of practice and are getting back on track. And focusing on themselves, instead of expectations, is critical, he added.
“I think blinders are on, it’s just about getting the team better,” Turgeon said. “We’ve digressed on the road the last three games, so to me, it’s just being mentally tough enough to go out and handle it and being physically tough enough to go on the road. That’s really important.”
Another player who needs to tackle a leadership role for the Terps is sophomore forward Jalen Smith, who is second in team scoring at 13.3 points per game and leads Maryland with 9.4 rebounds per game.
Wisconsin and Maryland split the two-game series last season, but Badgers coach Greg Gard said he’s aware that his team needs to maintain consistency as the Big Ten schedule continues to unfold.
The Badgers lost a hard-fought 71-70 contest at home to Illinois last Wednesday — a game in which they missed assignments on defense and had questionable shot selection over the final five minutes.
Sophomore guard Kobe King has had strong performances in his last three games for Wisconsin, scoring in double figures each time as part of a string of in 10 double-digit scoring efforts in his past 14 games. He had 21 against Illinois and 10 against Penn State.
Gard was pleased with how the Badgers rebounded at Penn State.
“In games that have gotten away from us, at times, we haven’t defended well,” he said. “We had to be really good defensively and make timely shots.”
–Field Level Media