BUFFALO, N.Y. | Wisconsin senior Bronson Koenig wasn’t about to let Thursday night’s NCAA first round game vs. Virginia Tech be his final game in a Badgers uniform. Koenig scored a game-high 28 points and hit 8 of 17 three-pointers to lead the Badgers to an 84-74 win over the Hokies. Wisconsin (26-9) will play top-seeded Villanova (32-3) in the second round Saturday at approximately 1:40 p.m. CT on CBS. The defending national champion Wildcats advanced with a 76-56 win over No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s earlier on Thursday.
Koenig hit 3 of 8 three-pointers and scored 11 points in the first half to help UW build a four-point lead. He was even better in the second half when he hit 5 of 9 three-pointers.
Koenig got some help from his friends especially senior Nigel Hayes who hit 8 consecutive free throws, many coming in some key moments late in the second half. Hayes recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Khalil Iverson also provided solid play off the bench. Playing less than a week after two of his cousins were shot to death in Columbus, Ohio, Iverson scored 11 points and added 7 rebounds in 21 minutes. It was his best performance of the season.
UW, which has had problems hitting free throws at times this season, finished 19 of 25 from the line (76.0%). The Badgers built a four-point halftime lead without sophomore Ethan Happ for the final 10:13 after Happ picked up his second foul. Wisconsin also played without senior Zak Showalter for the final five minutes of the game after Showalter fouled out on a questionable call. Fortunately for Showalter it was not the end to his Badgers career as his teammates held off the Hokies and advanced to Saturday’s second round to face the defending champs.
WASHINGTON D.C. | For the third time this season the Badger men’s basketball team beat Indiana | this time for a trip to the Big Ten tournament semifinals. Wisconsin won 70-60 and was led Bronson Koenig who scored 16 points and hit 4-of-5 three pointers. Ethan Happ also scored 14 points and had 12 rebounds. Zach Showalter added 12 points and Nigel Hayes 10.
Hayes was forced to sit much of the first half after picking up two quick fouls. It was the second straight game the Badgers lost one of their stars to early foul trouble. In both cases Wisconsin was able to weather the storm. Last Sunday it was Koenig against against Minnesota and Friday night Hayes against Indiana. Hayes hit his first two shots and had 6 points in the first five minutes but then picked up his second foul. Six Badgers helped pick up the slack scoring five or more points in the first half.
Wisconsin came into the Big Ten tournament as the #2 seed but took the court as the top seed remaining because #1 seed Purdue lost to Michigan on Friday. The Badgers will play either Maryland or Northwestern Saturday afternoon in a Big Ten tournament semifinal.
ANN ARBOR | Wisconsin senior guard Bronson Koenig sat out with his nagging calf injury and the #11 Wisconsin men’s basketball team lost at Michigan 64-58. It was the first time in 25 games Koenig did not start for the Badgers.. and it showed.
Ethan Happ scored 18 first half points hitting 8 of 9 shots. But Happ was help to just four points in the second half. The Badgers (21-5, 10-3) have lost consecutive games for the first time this season, dropping them into a three-way tie atop the Big Ten standings with No. 16 Purdue and No. 23 Maryland with five games remaining in the regular season.
Wisconsin freshman D’Mitrik Trice, getting the start for Koenig, had nine points on 2-of-15 shooting. Trice also had five rebounds and four assists in his first start.
Wisconsin hosts Maryland in a pivotal game in the race for the Big Ten’s regular season championship Sunday at noon. Michigan plays at Minnesota Sunday
This week sports director Jake Zimmermann argues that Badger guard Bronson Koenig is doing more harm than good if he’s playing while injured. Listen to this week’s Jake’s Take which also includes comments from former Badger Josh Gasser about Koenig’s injury.
MADISON | Ethan Happ had 24 points and 13 rebounds, senior guard Bronson Koenig scored 20 points and No. 17 Wisconsin beat No. 22 Syracuse 77-60 on Tuesday night at the Kohl Center.
Koenig finished 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and the Badgers (6-2) shot 48 percent overall (11 of 23) from behind the arc against the Orange’s 2/3 zone.
Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes was clearly upset when the final buzzer sounded. He narrowly missed becoming just the second Badger to ever record a triple double (Josh Gasser remains the only Wisconsin player to accomplish the feat). Hayes missed a free throw in the final minute | the front end of a one and one. He finished with 9 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.
It was an all-around solid game for Wisconsin’s top three players. Hayes found open shooters working from the high post. Happ worked around defenders in the low post for baseline layups. Koenig knocked down shots from the perimeter.
Wisconsin continues it’s tough early-season when Oklahoma visits Madison on Saturday.