MADISON — A major contributing factor to No. 7 Wisconsin’s second Big Ten loss to Northwestern on Sunday night was an abysmal night from guard Bronson Koenig, who had just two points on 1/8 shooting (0/5 from three). One factor that’s certainly playing a huge part is a “lower leg injury” he sustained against Penn State.
“I think mentally he’s doing ok,” head coach Greg Gard stated at the post-game press conference, after the bitter 66-59 loss. “I think the injury is certainly a factor, but not sure how much of one.”
It might be something to consider going forward, because Koenig’s game has been a problem as of late. Despite sustaining the injury, Koenig has played at least 30 minutes in all five games since Penn State, including full 40-minute efforts in overtime wins over Rutgers and Nebraska.
Koenig, who led the team in scoring for significant parts of this season, has slipped to second behind Ethan Happ. In the last five games, he’s shooting just 14/55 (25.4%), including 7/31 (22.6%) from three-point range. Both of these are well below his season averages, which are 42.5% from the field and 39.0% from three. As a result, Koenig is averaging just 8.8 points per game since the injury, far below his season average of 13.9.
If Koenig is truly ailing as much as his game is showing, he might need reduced playing time over the rest of the Big Ten schedule – efforts like Sunday night’s 1/8 performance won’t cut it down the stretch. Additionally, this might be the perfect time to spark the team with the play of D’Mitrik Trice, who has excelled in his freshman season and could stand to pick up more minutes.
Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor to face Michigan on Thursday night. The game can be seen on ESPN.