Wisconsin overcomes fouls, turnovers to knock off defending champion Villanova

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Ethan Happ and Bronson Koenig played much of the second half with four fouls apiece, but Wisconsin’s defense held to knock off top-seeded Villanova 65-62 Saturday afternoon.

It’s the fourth time in seven years the Wildcats have lost in the round of 32 while being seeded No. 1 or No. 2. Previous early exits came in 2015 (No. 1 seed), 2014 (No. 2 seed), and 2010 (No. 2 seed).

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The Badgers turned the ball over 14 times. but shot 53.1 percent from the field as part of a complete effort against a Wildcat team that struggled from the field early on. They converted on just 30 percent of their shots in the first half. Wisconsin had double-digit efforts from four players in the win, led by Nigel Hayes’ 19 points and eight rebounds.

A problem for much of the regular season, Wisconsin struggled at the free throw line against Villanova (6-of-18, 43.8 percent), but they’ve now reached the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive year. Wisconsin faces the winner between (5)Virginia and (4)Florida.

 

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