G Koenig of No. 11 Wisconsin questionable for No. 23 Maryland
MADISON, Wis. — Senior guard Bronson Koenig participated in shooting and drill sessions during a short practice for No. 11 Wisconsin on Friday.
Koenig’s status is still unclear after the standout was sidelined because of a left calf strain and didn’t play in the Badgers’ 64-58 loss at Michigan on Thursday.
Koenig, who averages 13.4 points per game, sustained the injury against Penn State on Jan. 24, and in the five games before his absence he made 7 of 31 3-point shots (22.6 percent) and 14 of 55 shots overall (25.5 percent). He averaged 8.8 points per game in that span.
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But work continues for Wisconsin (21-5, 10-3 in the Big Ten Conference), with or without Koenig. The Badgers are preparing for No. 23 Maryland (22-4, 10-3) and a critical league game on Sunday at noon CST at the Kohl Center.
As Wisconsin lost two straight games for the first time this season, the top spot in the Big Ten standings got more crowded than ever as the Badgers share the slot with Maryland and No. 16 Purdue.
The Boilermakers could take a one-game edge by beating Michigan State on Saturday.
Freshman G D’Mitrik Trice of Wisconsin performed well moving the ball on offense in his first college start and finished with nine points, five rebounds and four assists against Michigan. But Trice shot a woeful 2 of 15 from the field.
Trice, who averaged 16 minutes per game, played 35 minutes against the Wolverines.
“I thought for him coming into this position, having this thrown at him, I thought he did pretty well,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “He didn’t seem rattled at all. I thought, for the most part, he got the ball where it needed to go.”
The Badgers need more assistance from veteran starters, including senior forward Nigel Hayes and senior forward Vitto Brown. Hayes delivered six points and Brown failed to score against the Wolverines.
Hayes is third in team scoring at 13.3 points per game, but took only seven shots in 33 minutes at Michigan. Sophomore forward Ethan Happ carried the load with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting at Michigan.
Happ is the Badgers’ leader in scoring (14.5 per game), rebounding (9.1), assists (2.9) and steals (2.5).
“We need to have more contributions,” Gard said.
Maryland senior guard Melo Trimble is fresh off an impressive effort in a 74-64 win at Northwestern on Wednesday night. Trimble scored a career-high 32 points over the Wildcats.
The Badgers are well aware of Trimble’s talent, considering he drilled a 25-foot 3-pointer to beat Wisconsin 63-60 last year at the Kohl Center. Trimble said the Terrapins will be ready.
“Every year is different,” Trimble said after the Northwestern game. “The past two years, we’ve beat Wisconsin, but we lost to them as well last year.
“Every team is going to be different because they’re going to have a different scouting report on you. I don’t know who’s going to guard me, I don’t know how the game is going to turn out, but I know we’re going to play our best.”
The Terrapins have a 6-1 record in Big Ten road games this season, but Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said focus will be important for continued success.
“We need to lock in,” Turgeon said. “You see light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve got to lock in. Our energy level has to be great.”