Three Big Takeaways: Kalscheur, Cyclones beat Badgers to advance to Sweet 16

Iowa State senior Gabe Kalscheur drives to the basket against Texas Tech during the Big 12 Basketball Championship on March 9 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.(Denny MedleyBig 12 Conference)

James Powell

The Cyclones keep on dancing.

After pulling off an upset of LSU in the Round of 64 on Friday, Iowa State continued its run in the NCAA Tournament by knocking off the third-seeded Wisconsin Badgers, 54-49, to advance to the Sweet 16.

It’s the first appearance in the Sweet 16 for the Cyclones since 2016.

Iowa State got a huge boost from Gabe Kalscheur as it worked through some foul trouble and more shooting struggles to come away with the program’s second victory in the tournament.

Kalscheur contributes on both ends

It hasn’t been the most consistent season for Kalscheur, who transferred to Iowa State after seeing his offensive numbers decline year-to-year at Minnesota.

There have, however, been multiple instances where Kalscheur proved his worth and then some as he scored 30 points against Memphis early in the season and had a couple of hot games shooting the ball in Big 12 play.

Add his efforts against Wisconsin to that list.

Kalscheur poured in 22 points on 10-19 shooting and contributed four rebounds and two steals to his box score as well. He consistently got his team a basket when they needed it and found a rhythm on the offensive end, something he hasn’t done much of this season.

On the defensive end, he held Wisconsin’s Johnny Davis, an All-American and potential NBA lottery pick, to 4-16 shooting and 0-7 from behind the three-point line.

Kalscheur has often lined up against the opponent’s best offensive guard this season and has been praised throughout the season by T.J. Otzelberger for his ability to meet that challenge.

No one could blame Kalscheur for perhaps bringing an extra sense of intensity into this game against Wisconsin. Kalscheur hails from Edina, Minn., and played three seasons for Minnesota, one of Wisconsin’s biggest rivals.

Fouls plague Cyclones early

Otzelberger’s philosophy since he stepped foot in Ames as the head coach has been ball toughness and aggression. With that, at times, can bring with it a harsh whistle and his players ending up in foul trouble.

In the first half against the Badgers, the Cyclones had a number of players with multiple personal fouls. George Conditt and Robert Jones had three, and Izaiah Brockington, Caleb Grill and Kalscheur each had two.

By the final buzzer, Iowa State committed 25 fouls which led to 25 free throws for the Badgers, who made 19 of those attempts.

It was a foul-heavy game for both teams with a total of 43 personal fouls called. There were more personal fouls (43) than combined made field goals (34).

No player from either team fouled out, but there were three players from each team with at least four personals and another five with three.

Cyclones find a way, despite more shooting troubles

Against LSU, the Cyclones attempted a season-high 34 three-pointers and only made 12 of them.

There wasn’t as big of a barrage from deep, but the struggles were still there in spades.

Iowa State shot just 34 percent from the field and made three of 14 from three-point range, good for 21 percent. Lucky for them, the cold shooting spread to their opponent as Wisconsin made 29 percent of their shots and just two of their 22 attempts from deep.

It was another “rock fight” for Iowa State, reminiscent of many games in the regular season. Similar to the regular season, they seemed to make just enough to allow their defense to take center stage, and they’ll see if that formula can be replicated in next weekend’s action.