The Iowa State Cyclones beat the Wisconsin Badgers, 54-49, to claim a second-round victory in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday in Milwaukee, Wis.
Gabe Kalscheur led the Cyclones with 22 points as they took down the No. 3-seeded Badgers about 90 minutes away from their campus in Madison, Wis.
The Badgers (25-8) furiously tried to come back from a 10-point deficit with four minutes left, but they were never able to make it a one-possession game, even though Iowa State missed its final eight shots from the field.
Meanwhile, the Badgers made only one of their final eight shot attempts of the game.
The Cyclones (22-12), a No. 11 seed in the Midwest Region, will face either Auburn or Miami (FL) in the Sweet 16 next week in Chicago. Kansas has already advanced in the other side of the Midwest Region bracket after beating Creighton in the second round on Saturday.
Iowa State is the second Big 12 team to advance to the Sweet 16.
The Cyclones continued their incredible resurgence under first-year coach T.J. Otzelberger. The Cyclones won two games last season. Otzelberger inherited a roster in which most of the remaining top players transferred away. The Cyclones became one of the few teams in the country to record 10 or more Quad 1 wins in the NCAA Net ratings and are now moving to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2016.
Kalscheur hadn’t had a game like Sunday since he scored 30 points on Memphis in the NIT Tip-off final in late November, a victory that catapulted the Cyclones into the AP Top 25 for the first time this season.
But with points at a premium on Sunday, Kalscheur, the Minnesota transfer, delivered a huge game. He had 10 points by halftime and the Cyclones had a 27-26 lead. To underscore the shooting woes for both teams, each was under 40 percent from the field and they were a combined 1-of-17 from the 3-point line.
In the second half, Kalscheur continued his fine offensive play. At one point he scored seven straight points to help the Cyclones to a 34-28 lead. Kalscheur absorbed a wrist injury late in the game while taking a foul from Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis, but was able to shoot his free throws.
But other Cyclones helped along the way, too.
Aljaz Kunc had just six points. But his 3-pointer with 4:16 left gave the Cyclones a 50-40 lead. Later, Kunc had a tremendous block on a Wisconsin put-back with under a minute to play and the Badgers down five points.
Tyrese Hunter, coming off his career game in the first-round win over LSU, had just four points. But he had a key steal with under two minutes to play under the Wisconsin basket, helping to create another possession for Iowa State. He had six rebounds, five assists and a couple of key free throws in the final 40 seconds.
Izaiah Brockington had just 10 points, but his defense was key throughout the game.
Davis, Wisconsin’s consensus All-American, had 17 points, but was 0-of-7 from the 3-point line. Like his teammates he was frustrated all night by the Iowa State defense. The Badgers shot just 30 percent from the floor, nine percent from the 3-point line and committed 17 turnovers. The Badgers held the lead for more than 15 minutes of the game, but their biggest lead was just five points, 22-17, late in the first half.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.