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Wisconsin’s season ends with Sweet 16 loss to Florida

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This hurts, but these Badgers balled out in New York City.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - Wisconsin v Florida Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

A sweet run for the Wisconsin Badgers ended in New York City Friday night, swamped into submission after a thrilling game with the most dramatic finish so far in the NCAA tournament.

Guard Chris Chiozza’s three-pointer with mere seconds left lifted the No. 4 Florida Gators to an 84-83 overtime win over the No. 8 Wisconsin Badgers in Madison Square Garden. The running jump shot echoed UW guard Zak Showalter’s similar shot in regulation to force the extra five minutes. It was the first overtime game in the 2017 edition of March Madness.

Florida faces South Carolina for a trip to Phoenix next weekend to represent the East Region in the Final Four.

After forward Nigel Hayes hit both free throws to put the Badgers up two, Chiozza drove the length of the court to hit the game-winner as time expired.

It was the final game—quite the finale—for seniors Hayes (22 points, six rebounds), Bronson Koenig (13 points on 4-of-13 shooting), Showalter (14 points, seven rebounds) and Vitto Brown (10 points, two rebounds). Redshirt sophomore forward Ethan Happ scored 21 points and recorded six rebounds.

KeVaughn Allen lit up the court and broke out of his slump for Florida, scoring 35 points on 11-of-24 shooting. No other Florida player scored in double-digits.

The first half started off well for the Badgers, but they ultimately squandered an 11-point lead to trail at halftime 34-32.

Despite a hot start that included Hayes and Brown combining for 19 points in the first 20 minutes, Wisconsin’s self-inflicted wounds allowed Florida to get back into the game. Two fouls during Gators three-point attempts led to six converted free throws to give them the two-point advantage.

Nine turnovers—including five in six possessions at one point—and missed free throws also contributed to the Gators’ surge in the final 10 minutes of the first half. The Badgers committed 16 turnovers, hampering their shot to play the Gamecocks on Sunday.

The Gators went up 68-56 with over five minutes left in the game. Despite some erratic play and foul trouble—with Brown himself fouling out—the Badgers fought back to pull within three points. Showalter, tenacious with his play on the boards and with his hustle, hit the crucial shot to force overtime.

In the extra frame, the teams went back and forth for the early portion, but the Badgers gained momentum, building a five-point lead with 1:40 remaining. Florida fought back to tie the game at 81-81 on Chiozza’s layup with 24 seconds left.

Hayes then drew a foul with four seconds left and hit both free throws to put Wisconsin up two. After only converting one of four free throws in regulation, he hit six of 10 attempts in overtime. The Badgers as a team converted 20 of 30 from the charity stripe on Friday.

Chiozza’s heroics then took over, as he sliced past the Wisconsin defense to hit the difficult shot to clinch the win.