With less than two minutes left in a 17-point loss, Scott Drew had seen enough.
The Baylor head coach looked at Ish Wainright and screamed, “Why are you fouling?” as the clock dwindled to under two minutes in Wisconsin’s 69-52 win over the Bears in the Sweet 16 on Thursday at Anaheim’s Honda Center.
It was that kind of night for Baylor.
It was that kind of night, too, for Wisconsin.
The Badgers led 8-2 less than five minutes into the game, made it 18-8 six minutes later, went up by as much as 14 in the first half and led by as much as 21 in the second half. Wisconsin outshot the Bears by more than 20 percentage points, and even the Badgers’ prayers were answered.
With 5 minutes 51 seconds left in the game and one second left on the shot clock, Bronson Koenig rained home a three-point heave.
Just that kind of night.
“First half, we held them to 29 points, but they shot 49 percent, and Wisconsin is probably, if not the toughest team to come back, definitely one of the hardest to come back (against),” Drew said. “We got away from the zone, tried to go man, tried to pressure them up — they’re extremely hard to pressure and rattle.”
Wisconsin was as fluid as it was dominant. The Badgers found one open man after another, assisting on 17 of their first 22 field goals and finishing with 18 assists to 10 turnovers.
Aside from Josh Gasser’s poor shooting (he went 0 for 5 from the field), Wisconsin’s starters went a combined 18 for 30. Frank Kaminsky had 19 points to go along with six blocks for the Badgers, and Ben Brust had 14 points and six rebounds.
“They left the middle of the zone open a little bit, and we were able to get the ball in there and get some easy baskets to the rim, some easy kick-outs for threes,” Kaminsky said. “We just kind of hammered it into the middle and made some things happen.”
Added Baylor’s Cory Jefferson: “Offensively, (Kaminsky) has a good skill set; a 7-footer who can shoot it. He’s multi-movement around the rim, so when you have a 7-footer who does that, it’s also hard because if you think you’re going to give him the first shot, it’s easy.”
Wisconsin dominated nearly ever facet in the first half, holding Baylor to 5-of-24 shooting, 1-of-6 three-point shooting, zero points off turnovers, zero second-chance points and zero fast-break points. No Bear had more than four points in the first half, and starters Cory Jefferson, Brady Heslip, Kenny Chery and Isaiah Austin — who had combined for 48 points per game — had a total of 13 in the first 20 minutes.
The Bears were anemic from the start and then even worse. They started the game 3 for 11 from the field in the first 9 minutes, 30 seconds, then went 2 for 13 the rest of the half.
“At the end of the day, the one thing you can’t control as a coach is if they go in or out,” Drew said. “You can control what kind of shot you get … but if it goes in or out? You can’t.”
Baylor, which rallied from a 2-8 Big 12 start to finish 9-9 in conference play, easily advanced to the Sweet 16. The Bears won their first two tournament games by a combined 44 points, including a 85-55 woodshedding of Creighton in the Round of 32. The biggest difference between last week and this — shooting, both inside and outside. Baylor shot 64 percent from the field against the Bluejays and 61 percent from long range, with the top four scorers contributing 62 points.
Wisconsin had a slightly tougher road, first with a 85-55 blowout over American, then with a much stiffer test in a come-from-behind, 85-77 win over Oregon in which the Badgers trailed the Ducks by 12 at the half.
“The upperclassmen and rest of the team after we were down at halftime versus Oregon, we knew what we needed to do in order to come out and come back the way we did,” Wisconsin’s Nigel Hayes said. “We know if we wanted to beat a good Baylor team we had to put together a whole game, and I feel we came out and did that.”