Gabe Kalscheur scored 22 points and #11 seed Iowa State capitalized on an early injury to Wisconsin point guard Chucky Hepburn, holding off the third-seeded Badgers, 54-49, in the second round of the Midwest Region on Sunday at Milwaukee.
Iowa State (22-12) faces the winner of #2 seed Auburn and 10th-seeded Miami in the Sweet 16 at Chicago on Friday.
“This is unbelievable,” Izaiah Brockington said of the Cyclones’ turnaround from 2-22 last season. “Just to think of where were we started in June with a group that was so new to each other and just was going out there with the ojbect of turning things around, getting as many wins we could. To end up here, is a blessing. I’m excited.”
Hepburn left with a left leg injury with 4:37 left in the first half and the Badgers up 22-19. Wisconsin (25-8), first in the nation in fewest turnovers per game at 8.4, turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 11 Cyclones points.
“I feel bad for Chucky that it had to happen with injury,” Kalscheur said. “But, we just didn’t see that aggressive point guard operation coming from them. That’s what I saw.”
Chris Vogt opened the second half with a dunk to put the Badgers in front 28-27, but the Cyclones responded with an 8-0 run.
Jaz Kunc hit a 3-pointer from the top to put Iowa State up 50-40, but Tyler Wahl converted a three-point play and Johnny Davis hit two free throws to make it 50-45 with 3:09 left.
The Cyclones missed eight consecutive shots, but Tyrese Hunter snapped the scoring drought of more than 3 1/2 minutes with two free throws for a 52-45 lead with 41 seconds remaining.
Jordan Davis hit a 3-pointer for Wisconsin with 12 seconds left. The Badgers stole the inbound pass and Jahcobi Neath missed the first of two free throws to leave it a two-possession game.
Johnny Davis, the Big Ten player of the year, had 17 points for Wisconsin, but made just 4 of 16 shots, including 0 of 7 beyond the arc. The Badgers, who also lost in the second round last season, made just 2 of 22 from deep.
Brockington added 10 points for the Cyclones, who were 2-22 last season.
The Badgers did not have a field goal over the final 5:23 of the first half, scoring their final five points from the line. Wisconsin got into the double bonus with 6:09 remaining, but missed 4 of 13 first-half free throws. Iowa State was 2 for 2 from the line.
Wisconsin forward Tyler Wahl picked up his second foul with 11:13 left in the half and played just 6 1/2 minutes.