The Wisconsin Badgers haven’t went from ‘Sweet, to ‘Elite’ as they defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Sweet Sixteen by the score of 79-72. The Badgers will be advancing the Elite Eight for the 4th time in School History, and for the 2nd straight year. The Badgers were able to ride Sam Dekker tonight, as he had his first double-double of the season with 23 points and 10 rebounds.
Frank Kaminsky struggled in the first half going 2-7 from the field, but rebounded nicely in the 2nd half as he finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds. Nigel Hayes didn’t have a good shooting night from the field, shooting 3-11 from it, but was able to score 12 points and grab 6 boards for the Badgers. Wisconsin’s guards also had some big moments, as Josh Gasser had 6 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Zak Showalter went 3-3 from the field scoring 6 points, Bronson Koenig added 9 points, and Traevon Jackson returned form a nineteen game absence with 4 points in 9 minutes in Wisconsin’s winning effort.
For the Tar Heels, Justin Jackson and Brice Johnson were their leading scorers tonight, as both of them had 15 points. Jackson also added in 3 assists while Johnson grabbed 4 rebounds. Marcus Paige had 12 points with 3 assists. 6 of those 12 points help keep the Tar Heels in the game in the final minutes of the 4th quarter. John Berry II added in 9 points and 3 assists off the bench in North Carolina’s losing effort tonight.
The Badgers, (34-3), are off to the Elite Eight. They will take on the winner of Xavier-Arizona on Saturday night. If Arizona wins, it would be a rematch of Wisconsin’s Elite Eight game last year where the Badgers knocked off the Wildcats 64-63. The Tar Heels, (26-12), are headed home as their season is now over.
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