You may not have heard, but there was another game going on during the Packers’ 30-13 victory over the Vikings, as the Wisconsin Badgers beat the VCU Rams 74-73 on a Bronson Koenig layup with six seconds left.

The Badgers trailed at halftime 43-37, turning the ball over 11 times, although shooting 51.7% from the field. Wisconsin’s big men Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown combined for 6 turnovers and 3 fouls in the half leading to 13 VCU points. VCU’s bench scored 27 points in the first 20 minutes, and Koenig led the Badgers with 16 points in 15 minutes at the half. The second half was tight throughout, with two ties and five lead changes. It came down to the Badgers down 73-72 with the ball with 22.7 seconds left in the game. Koenig was given the last shot, and as you saw, took care of business.

“My temper was the worst turnover of the second half.” – Bo Ryan after the game.

Koenig led the Badgers with 22 points on 9-14 shooting (2-5 from three), 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 turnovers in 33 minutes. It was an excellent effort by Koenig, who bounced back from one of his career worst performances against Georgetown on Friday. Koenig’s counterpart in the backcourt, Zak Showalter, also had an impressive game, filling the stat sheet with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks, and 3 steals in 37 minutes. Freshman Khalil Iverson added 5 points in 13 minutes, with Jordan Hill playing a little less than a minute. The backcourt was the heart and soul of this team’s effort on Sunday afternoon.

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Down the stretch, Happ, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Nigel Hayes (10 points), and freshman Charlie Thomas (9 points, 5 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 26 minutes) helped out the backcourt en route to victory. Happ earned All-Tournament honors with a pair of double-doubles, averaging 12 points and 10.5 rebounds. Vitto Brown fouled out in only 19 minutes, and Alex Illikainen saw 3 minutes. The interior defense was a bit better, but they gave up a lot of points in the paint to VCU in the last 10 minutes of the game.

This was a huge win for Wisconsin after the upset against Western Illinois in the team’s season debut and the abysmal effort against Georgetown on Friday. Winning this game will give the young Badgers confidence moving forward knowing they can compete against quality teams and win in pressured situations.

Next up, the Badgers (3-2) will host the Prairie View A&M Panthers on Wednesday night at 7:00 PM at the Kohl Center.

Photo from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.