Notes: Bench Almost Produces Enough

Bronson Koenig had 11 first-half points (Siker/14)

Freshman Bronson Koenig and junior Duje Dukan gave a lift to Wisconsin in the Badgers' final game of the season, producing enough offense to keep UW breathing until the final seconds.

ARLINGTON, Texas - Needing to find an extra jolt of energy to propel itself into the final game of the season, Bronson Koenig and Duje Dukan each took turns scoring off the bench for Wisconsin, keeping the Badgers alive in the final whistle of their 74-73 defeat to Kentucky Saturday.

In a game dominated by Kentucky's freshmen, it was Wisconsin's young point guard that shone brightest early. Playing the final 11:53 of the half with Jackson on the bench with two fouls, Koenig scored seven of his 11 first-half points on that stretch while facilitating an offense that average 1.25 points per possession. But Koenig went quiet in the second half.

"I limited myself," said Koenig. "I just have to be more consistent."

Thankfully, Dukan stepped in to fill the void. The junior started a 10-2 run with an offensive rebound, scoring eight points on the run after Kentucky started the first half with its own 15-0 run. Dukan scored eight points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field in 15 minutes. Dukan's second 3-pointer helped put the Badgers in the lead 56-55.

In first four games of the tournament, Koenig and Dukan averaged 5.4 and 4.0 points, respectively, in 141 combined minutes.

"That's kind of what we take pride in (with) all the bench guys, you never know who is going to step up and have a good game," said Dukan. "In the first half it was Bronson. In the second half I made a couple shots. It's tough because we were so excited for this game and moving forward. To see in all end is tough to swallow." Quotable

Kentucky coach John Calipari on Wisconsin

"The reality of it is, is Bo coaches to his talent. They're scoring now. This team is scoring more. They're not running the swing the way they used to. Well, why isn't he? Because he knows that this team doesn't fit that offense as well as how they're playing.

"So I will tell you that they're more athletic than you think. They're more skilled than you think. They're not relying solely on an offense, they're not. The other thing is, they're different defensively than he's been in the past. So that's why he's such a great coach. That's why he is who he is. That's why he's won national titles at other levels where he's been and why he's gotten Wisconsin to a Final Four."

Extra Points: Wisconsin set a new Final Four record for free throw percentage at 95 percent (19-of-20). The Badgers hit their first 17 free throw attempts … Ben Brust is now Wisconsin's all-time leader in three-point field goals made in NCAA Tournament games with 24, surpassing Jordan Taylor (23) … Wisconsin is now 1-2 in national semifinals.

BadgerNation.com Recommended Stories


  • One of three players expected to sign with Wisconsin today, Brewster (NH) Academy three-star power forward Alex Illikainen's goal of playing college basketball in the Midwest was fulfilled by a…

  • Build yourself a sky-high left-over turkey sandwich, cover it in a creamy sauce of hate, and get ready to scream!

  • Best friends off the field and heated competitors on it, Wisconsin junior tailback Melvin Gordon and Nebraska senior running back Ameer Abdullah are always trying to push one another to be better…

  • Winners of four straight, No.22 Wisconsin needs a victory over No.11 Nebraska to remain in the driver's seat of the Big Ten West Division. Badger Nation gets the inside scoop on this week's opponent…

  • Finding just the right present for that special someone can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a wide variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor gifts that you—or Santa—can deliver this Christmas.

Up Next


Tweets