Well, the good news is that Wisconsin's front court should be well rested for Gonzaga's big men. Heck, Keaton Nankivil and Jon Leuer will basically enter tomorrow's game on five days rest.
The UW men's basketball team battled through foul trouble Monday evening at Lahaina Civic Center and somehow pulled out a 65-61 win over Arizona behind a team-high 24 points from Trevon Hughes.
A ridiculous 55 combined fouls were called in the game, leaving Leuer and Nankivil in foul trouble for most of the night. Leuer ended up fouling out with over 10 minutes remaining in the game and the two combined for only 27 minutes.
Monday's game was certainly not normal for a Bo Ryan coached team. UW led by eight at the half despite shooting only five free throws -- and making two of them -- in the first half compared to Arizona's 19 free throw attempts. Then in the second half, as the fouls evened out -- the Wildcats ended up with 30 fouls in the game -- Wisconsin actually lost the lead.
The Badgers ended up shooting only 17-of-29 from the free throw line, but they made six of their last eight attempts to help seal the win. Ironically, it was a play off a missed free throw that was arguably the biggest play of the game.
With UW leading 63-61 with five seconds remaining, Nankivil made his first free throw before missing the second. Arizona grabbed the rebound but Hughes knocked the ball loose and dove on the ground, creating a jump ball that gave possession back to the Badgers. He was then fouled and made 1-of-2 at the line to seal the 65-61 win.
Hughes, who has already been challenged by coaches and fans to play more consistent this season, came up big on both ends of the floor Monday night to make up for an small, low-scoring lineup that Ryan was forced to put on the floor.
On top of scoring 24 points and coming up with the big steal at the end of the game, he also blocked a Derrick Williams shot with 2:30 left in the game and the score tied at 55. Williams led all scorers with 25 points and appeared to have an easy short jumper in the lane before Hughes came from behind and swatted the ball loose. The UW point guard ended up making two free throws on the ensuing possession, which began the final 10-6 run for the Badgers that included two emphatic dunks by Nankivil.
Hughes finished with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks to go along with four turnovers.
The Badgers will now have to regroup for a tough game tomorrow night against an underrated Gonzaga team that struggled against Colorado Monday. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN. Maryland will face Cincinnati in the first semifinal game at 7 p.m., also on ESPN.