Get to the next round. Itâ€™s what the Badgers needed to do, and itâ€™s what they did. It just didnâ€™t happen the way we have gotten used to.
Bronson Koenig and Duje Dukan both shined off the bench as Wisconsin came back from a nine-point second half deficit to defeat a strong Georgetown team, 68-65.
The Badgers move on to play Oklahoma in the Battle 4 Atlantis championship game at 3:30 p.m. on Friday.
It didnâ€™t look like that would be the case in the second half. After a back and forth first half, the Hoyas started to slowly build a lead. The physical play down low neutralized Frank Kaminsky and Dâ€™Vauntes Smith-Rivera would not miss. His 29 points were a game high and helped Georgetown to a nine point lead with 11 minutes to play.
With both Traevon Jackson and Josh Gasser sitting with four fouls, the Badgers (5-0) needed someone to spark them from the bench. Enter Koenig and Dukan. Koenig had 14 points and Dukan added eight of his own, as both hit huge three-pointers to get the Badgers back in front. Koenigâ€™s play was very reminiscent of his play against Kentucky. Heâ€™s fearless out there it shows in his game.
While the Badgers were able to get the lead back, they were unable to pull away. Twice they had poor possessions that did nothing more than run time off the clock. This allowed Georgetown (4-1) to pull within one with less than a minute to play. A great tip-in follow by Nigel Hayes with 20 seconds left moved the lead to three and Smith-Rivera had a three at the buzzer rim out.
Overall it was a great showing for the Badgers. Georgetown is a team that is going to do some damage this year, and not only did Wisconsin overcome a decent second half deficit, they did it using different players. Yes, Sam Dekker looked good throughout the game as he had a game high 17 and Nigel Hayes had a solid first half, but if Wisconsin is able to rely on two bench players to pull out a close game, this team is even more dangerous than I imagined.
And hey, Jackson and Gasser will be rested for Fridayâ€™s championship.