Matt Thomas and Bronson Koenig put on a show their senior years in high school in the Coulee Region.
Koenig, for Aquinas High, and Thomas at Onalaska.
From there, Koenig went to play at Wisconsin, working his way into a prominent role. The sophomore just put up a career high 17 points Saturday.
Thomas’ career started with a flurry, but has been a rollercoaster since. Saturday, however, like his high school rival, Thomas, too, put up a career high 17 points for No. 14 Iowa State University (20-6, 10-4).
In just 21 minutes in an 85-77 win over Texas, Thomas went 5 of 7 from the field and 4-for-6 from beyond the arc. He added a rebound, a steal and had no turnovers. It was his seventh game in double figures this season and 15th of his career.
So far this season, Thomas has averaged 21 minutes a game, putting up 5.5 points on 37-percent shooting from the field and 34-percent from beyond the arc.
Thomas was a starter for much of the first half of last season (15 of 36 starts in all) during Iowa State’s run to a Big 12 tournament championship. As the year progressed, however, his playing time regressed.
He did play 16 minutes in the second-round of the NCAA tournament, when third-seeded Iowa State’s beat North Carolina 93-75. He then played 14 minutes in the 81-76, third-round loss to UConn.
Last summer, Thomas was arrested for a OWI, which led to a two-game suspension. But when he did come back, he was solid. The 6-foot-4 sophomore scored 13 and 14 points in two of the first three games, averaging 24 minutes.
From there, his playing time fluctuated, often only playing in blowouts. Saturday’s game was the most minutes he’s played in February. In the other five games this month, he’s averaged just 3.6 points in 11.8 minutes a game, which included a seven-point, 16-minute showing in a 75-38 blowout of Texas Tech.