Badgers, Hoyas meet for spot in Maui finals
Georgetown and Wisconsin will meet again.
The unranked Hoyas upset No. 13 Oregon 65-61 in the first round of the Maui Invitational Monday to set up a second-round game Tuesday against No. 16 Wisconsin, which beat Tennessee 74-62 in the first round.
Georgetown and Wisconsin have played in each of the last two seasons including a 71-61 win by the Hoyas last year at the 2K Classic in New York City.
“Yeah, it's becoming a conference game, that's stating the obvious,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “They're tough and they make you earn everything. Nothing ever is easy against them. And when you make mistakes, they make you pay. And then you take that and you add the fact that, like it is systematic, forget the system. They've got some really good players too.”
The Badgers lost to Creighton last week, but have bounced back with two wins in a row.
“As always, trying to get the first game is the one you want to get under your belt,” Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. “I am proud of the guys for battling back. Obviously there are a lot of things to clean up and get better at.”
Wisconsin scored the first 12 points against Tennessee, but fell behind 46-44 before rallying for the victory. Guard Bronson Koenig led the Wolverines with 21 points and four assists. Koenig has recently been the driving force of the offense. His outside shot opens the floor for the rest of the Badgers. He made 9 of 15 shots on Monday, but Wisconsin did not play its usual disciplined brand of offense.
That helped Tennessee stick around into the second half.
“We need to play at our pace and control the tempo more,” Koenig said after Wisconsin had 18 turnovers in the win.
Forward Nigel Hayes added 17 points and 10 rebounds for Wisconsin while forward Ethan Happ had 16 points.
The Hoyas were able to put an upset loss to Arkansas State behind them to beat the ranked Ducks and set up a meeting with the Badgers. Guard Rodney Pryor had 26 points to pace Georgetown.
“We know we are a good team,” Pryor said. “We know we let two games go early but we can't hang our heads on that. We can't get too low or too high, so coming out here we knew we had to stay together and believe in each other.”
Georgetown has short rest as it prepares for another ranked foe.
“It's a tough game,” Thompson said. “We have to go hydrate and start to get ready for them. But it's a battle. Every offensive possession is a battle. We have to be ready for that.”
Monday's win was a confidence boost for the Hoyas. Wisconsin is looking to build its own momentum by reaching Wednesday's title game before returning home and drawing Syracuse (Nov. 29) in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.