Bronson Koenig scored 28 points and hit eight threes to pace No. 8 Wisconsin as the Badgers pulled away from No. 9 Virginia Tech late, winning 84-74.
The Badgers got a combined 26 points and 18 boards from Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ, but it was Koenig who was the star on Thursday evening.
Koenig has developed quite a reputation for hitting clutch three-pointers throughout his career, the most memorable of which was a buzzer-beating three to send Wisconsin to the Sweet 16 last season, and that didn’t change on Thursday night. Koenig buried a pair of critical triples, the first of which came with eight minutes left and the second, his final three of the night, coming with five minutes left. Both answered a surge by the Hokies to get the game to within a single point. Virginia Tech never did take the lead in the second half.
Zach LeDay played great for Virginia Tech, going for 23 points off the bench, but the Hokies were limited as Seth Allen, the team’s second-leading scorer, was battling a toe injury that limited his effectiveness. He finished with just 10 points, going 3-for-10 from the floor and never really making all that much of an impact.
The win sets Wisconsin up for a second round date with No. 1 seed Villanova, a game that some believe Wisconsin actually has a chance to win. The Badgers have plenty of size up front, and as good as Villanova has been this season, they just don’t have that kind of size on the interior.
Villanova knocked off Mount St. Mary’s earlier on Tuesday evening.