"Time running out, Koenig takes the pass (2 seconds) makes a jab step, (1), his shot is up from the corner (0.0)... IT'S GOOD!"
And with that, the Badgers kept their dancing shoes on for a trip this Friday into the Sweet Sixteen.
Bronson Koenig (left) mirrored his teammates performance last night.
After a rough start and a couple of cold-shooting games coming into the round of 32, Koenig kept his confidence and kept firing. He, and the Badgers would be rewarded for his effort.
An underdog to the two seed Xavier Musketeers and coming off a horrific display in a win over Pittsburgh, many Wisconsin fans were hoping for a good performance and respectable score.
These Badgers were shooting higher.
Freshman Ethan Happ (right) scored a lot of his 18 points during the first half and led the team throughout the game as he found a way through, in, and under the big men playing the paint for Xavier.
Happ and Vitto Brown (12 points) kept the Badgers going on offense while every Wisconsin player on the court demonstrated the tenacious attitude of their mascot.
One thing I've noticed about this team as the season progressed is how they've taken on the demeanor of their new coach.
Greg Gard (below) works the game and follows his plan. He keeps a pretty even keel regardless of the ups or downs, and the team follows his lead.
Coach Vince Lombardi told his Green Bay Packers they never lost a game, but there were occasions when the clock ran out before they took a lead.
It was a relief to see Bucky's boys come out fast with an early lead while playing a lock-down defense.
Down 3 at intermission, the junior from LaCrosse, Wisconsin hit a 3 with 16:32 to play in the second half to tie the game. With less than 12 minutes to play, the Badgers led by the slimmest of margins, but the tough Musketeers took back the lead.
With 6 minutes to play, Xavier led 58 - 49. Most experts think such a lead is a huge margin when Wisconsin's concerned because their style of the "Swing" offense doesn't lend itself to big bursts of scoring.
At 3:52, Wisconsin cut the lead to 4. With 1:34 left, it as a one point Xavier lead.
The Musketeers took a 63 - 60 lead with :34 to play. Badger Bronson tied it at 63 with :13 to play.
Xavier ball, Edmond Sumner drove the ball toward his basket, but Wisconsin's Zak Showalter was in position and took the charge with 5 ticks on the clock.
A pass to mid court and a time out gave the Badgers 2 seconds to win the game.
Freshman Ethan Happ inbounded the ball to a hard-charging Koenig who fought around 2 screens, took a step forward then lifted into the air in front of the Badger bench from the corner and lofted the ball into the air.
The clock read 0:00 before the ball came down, swishing through the net!
It was the last of Bronson Koenig's 20 points.
In my home, in St. Louis at the game, and everywhere you might find a Badger fan - voices shouted "YES!" High fives exchanged, hugs given, and tears wiped away.
The season continues Friday night against Notre Dame in Philadelphia. This Badger fan is hoping Bucky's team can keep standing on their head. Go Badgers!