BUFFALO – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) – Nigel Hayes scored 19 points and made the winning layup with 11.4 seconds remaining as No. 8 seed Wisconsin upset top-seeded Villanova 65-62 on Saturday in an NCAA Tournament second-round game at KeyBank Center.
Bronson Koenig added 17 points, including two late 3-pointers, for the Badgers (27-9), who are returning to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season. Ethan Happ added 12 points and eight rebounds and Vito Brown scored 10.
Josh Hart had 19 points for defending national champion Villanova, which finished the season at 32-4. Donte DiVincenzo added 15 points and Jalen Brunson had 11.
Neither team led by more than eight points in a game that went down to the wire.
After DiVencenzo stole the ball at midcourt and made one of two free throws to tie the game, Hayes drove the baseline and scored on a reverse layup to put Wisconsin ahead 64-62 with 11.4 seconds left.
Hart worked his way into the paint to try and tie the game for Villanova, but Happ held his ground inside and Hart lost the ball.
Brown was fouled after coming up with the loose ball but he missed the second of two free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining. DiVincenzo grabbed the rebound, but Villanova was unable to get off a shot.
The Badgers trailed by seven points with six minutes remaining but rallied to tie the game on a Koenig 3-pointer with 3:27 to go. Koenig, who sat for more than 10 minutes of the second half after picking up his fourth foul, hit another 3 to give Wisconsin a 62-59 lead at the 2:00 mark.
Villanova took its first lead since the early stages of the game on Brunson’s layup that made it 39-37 with 13:28 remaining. The Wildcats went on a 6-0 run while the Badgers turned the ball over on three straight trips.
Wisconsin shot 54 percent in the first half and led for all but 3:25 of the first 20 minutes. The Badgers took a 20-12 lead, the largest of the game for either team, midway through the half and went into halftime ahead 31-27.
For the second straight NCAA Tournament game, Villanova started slowly, shooting below 30 percent (8 for 27) in the first half. In the first round against 16th-seeded Mount St. Mary’s, the Wildcats went 5 for 21 before clawing their way back in the game.
NOTES: Wisconsin has won 13 NCAA Tournament since 2014, the most of any team during that span. … Villanova lost in the second round as a No. 2 seed in its last NCAA Tournament appearance in Buffalo in 2014. … Villanova defeated Wisconsin in the only previous meeting between the two schools at the 1995 Maui Invitational