BUFFALO, N.Y. – Bronson Koenig scored a career-high 28 points and set a new school record with eight 3-pointers to lead No.8 seed Wisconsin to an 84-74 victory over No.9 seed Virginia Tech in the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament.
In winning its opening round game for the 10th time in the last 11 season, Wisconsin (26-9) earns a date with top-seeded Villanova Saturday for a chance to go to the Sweet 16 in New York City. The defending national champion Wildcats (32-3) shook off a slow start to beat 16th-seed Mount St. Mary’s, 76-56, earlier that night.
Nigel Hayes had 16 points and 10 rebounds for a third straight double-double and Khalil Iverson chipped in 11 off the bench to help the Badgers shoot 50 percent in the second half and win a game that was two possessions or less from 17:06 to :37 in the second half.
Hitting three 3-pointers in the first half and scoring a team-high 11 points, Koenig was 5-for-7 from the perimeter in the second half and took advantage of catch-and-shoot opportunities opened to him by his teammates. He wasn’t the only member of Wisconsin’s “Big Three” to make some plays.
Hayes’ spin move on Ty Outlaw led to a 3-point play and a 77-73 lead with 2:07 remaining. On the next possession, Ethan Happ (10 points) cleaned up a rushed Koenig 3-pointer to beat the shot clock to make the lead six with 1:23 remaining.
Zach LeDay scored 23 points to lead four Hokies in double figures, but Virginia Tech (22-11) had no field goals in the final 5:38.
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