The Wisconsin Badgers Sneak Past the Oregon Ducks Into the Sweet Sixteen

The Oregon Ducks were hungry for an upset of the top seeded team in their region, the Wisconsin Badgers, Sunday night. Last year the Badgers knocked the Ducks out of the tournament in this exact round and the Ducks did not want to see that happen for the second straight year. But the Badgers were too much for the Ducks to handle as they topped the Ducks 72-65.

It was a strong start for Frank Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes who combined for 13 of the Badgers first 16 points, which helped the Badgers get off to a 20-9 lead. Kaminsky cooled off and didn’t score for the remainder of the half. Hayes finished off the half with 12 points and the Ducks got 14 points from Joseph Young in the first half. Oregon cut the Badgers lead to 31-28 on a 7-2 run heading into halftime.

In the second half, every time the Badgers looked like they were going to run away with the game the Ducks would find a way to respond. Dwayne Benjamin had a big second half for Oregon, scoring eight points including a big three that tied the game at 52 with under six minutes to go. The Badgers then went on a 6-0 run getting five of those points from Sam Dekker. It took the Ducks almost three minutes after the Benjamin three pointer to score again. The Badgers made 10 of their 12 free throw attempts in the final minutes, which was enough to put away the Ducks for the second straight year.

Sam Dekker led the Badgers in scoring with 17 points. They also got 16 from Frank Kaminsky, 14 from Nigel Hayes, and 12 from Bronson Koenig. Koenig has now scored double-digits in 13 of the 19 games he has started since replacing the injured Traevon Jackson.

In last year’s matchup between these teams, Oregon got 29 points from Joseph Young. This time they got 30 from Young in his final collegiate game. One of the best moments in the game came when the Ducks pulled Young from the game with about 12 seconds left and he received a standing ovation from the fans. The Ducks also got 12 points from Jalil Abdul-Bassit and an eight point, seven rebound, four block performance from freshman forward Jordan Bell.

The Badgers are moving on to the Sweet Sixteen to face a Roy Williams-coached North Carolina Tar Heel team. The matchup will take place on Friday, March 27.