Wisconsin senior point guard Bronson Koenig didn’t look like himself Sunday night during Wisconsin’s 66-59 loss to Northwestern.
Koenig finished with 2 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist. He made only 1 of 8 field-goal attempts, and missed all five of his 3-point shots. The Badgers have come to expect better from their floor general, who is averaging 13.9 points per game this season.
In the postgame press conference Sunday, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard spoke about the undisclosed leg injury that has been ailing Koenig.
“I think he’s OK mentally,” Gard said. “I think the injury is a factor. How much of a factor, his acceleration off screens is obviously diminished a little bit, but he’s also had some decent looks.
“It wasn’t always off screens — he had some catch-and-shoot opportunities. I just thought we were a little quicker, better defensively at times with other matchup situations.”
Koenig sustained the nagging left-leg injury during a Jan. 24 win against Penn State. In the five games since then, he is averaging 8.8 points despite playing at least 30 minutes in each.
While forwards Ethan Happ and Nigel Hayes have stepped up, the Badgers are showing ill effects from having one of their stars less than 100 percent. They struggled to overtime wins over Rutgers and Nebraska prior to the loss to the Wildcats.
At his best, Koenig has the potential to carry a team. He has scored at least 20 points seven times this season. All but one of those performances have resulted in wins, including five by 16 points or more.
Gard has given no indication that he plans to rest Koenig, but it’s clear Wisconsin needs to get its point guard back to full health to reach its potential come March.
Wisconsin is 21-4 overall, 10-2 in the Big Ten and holds a one-game lead atop the conference standings. The Badgers play at Michigan on Thursday before hosting second-place Maryland on Sunday at the Kohl Center.