MILWAUKEE — Gabe Kalscheur scored 22 points and 11th-seeded Iowa State surprised Wisconsin in the Badgers’ backyard, advancing to the Sweet 16 with a 54-49 victory Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Izaiah Brockington added 10 points as the gritty Cyclones used their tough defense to hold off Johnny Davis and company in front of a raucous pro-Wisconsin crowd about 80 miles away from the school’s Madison campus.
After winning just two games last season, Iowa State (22-12) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016 and the sixth time in school history. It will play the Miami-Auburn winner in the Midwest Region semifinals on Friday in Chicago.
Kalscheur, a 6-foot-4 transfer from Minnesota who knows all about tough games in Wisconsin, went 10 for 19 from the field. The rest of the Cyclones combined for 10 made field goals.
After Brockington and freshman Tyrese Hunter led Iowa State to a 59-54 win over LSU in the first round, it was Kalscheur’s day.
Davis, the Big Ten Player of the Year, led Wisconsin with 17 points, but the Badgers shot a season-low 29.8% from the field and turned it over a season-high 17 times. Wisconsin was leading the nation with an average of 8.4 turnovers per game coming into the day.
The Badgers, who lost freshman point guard Chucky Hepburn to a leg injury in the first half, led by one after Chris Vogt’s rebound dunk with 18:09 left. But the Cyclones responded with an 11-2 run.
Kalscheur’s 3 put Iowa State ahead to stay, and Brockington’s jumper made it 38-30 with 10 minutes left.
The Badgers pulled within five on Davis’ two foul shots with 3:09 to go, but the rally fizzled from there. Hunter made two free throws and Kalscheur added another one from the line to help the Cyclones hold on.
Hepburn hurt his left leg after contesting Hunter’s layup with 4:37 left in the first half. He grabbed his leg after he landed and had to be helped off the court.
Hunter’s basket sparked an 8-0 run that gave the Cyclones a 25-22 lead with 1:44 remaining. Caleb Grill converted a layup as time expired, making it 27-26 Iowa State at the break.
Davis spiked the ball in frustration as he left the court after Grill’s basket. The Badgers had eight turnovers at the break after they turned it over just five times during their 67-60 victory over Colgate in the first round.
Iowa State: The Cyclones’ stout defense is keeping the team in games while it struggles on offense, and that makes the Big 12 team a threat in the next round.
Wisconsin: Hepburn’s injury put the Badgers in a bad spot, but the team just never got into a rhythm offensively.