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Wisconsin dumps VT, earns matchup with 'Nova

Bronson Koenig dropped a career-high 28 points as No. 8 Wisconsin advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night, surviving a strong challenge from No. 9 Virginia Tech, 84-74 at the KeyBank Center.

Koenig, a 6-foot-4 senior guard out of La Crosse, Wis., set a career high with eight 3-pointers on a career-most 17 attempts. He hit the 20-point mark for the 10th time this season but did so for the first time in eight games, dating back to a 27-point outing against Ohio State on Feb. 23 that had represented his previous high.

The Badgers (26-9) will take on the East Region's No. 1 seed, Villanova, on Saturday. The defending national champion Wildcats struggled early against No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary's before pulling away in the second half for a 76-56 win.

Click through images from the game:

12 PHOTOS
Virginia Tech vs. Wisconsin -- March Madness 2017
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Virginia Tech vs. Wisconsin -- March Madness 2017
Mar 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Wisconsin Badgers guard Khalil Iverson (21) shoots against Virginia Tech Hokies guard Ty Outlaw (42) and forward Zach LeDay (32) in the second half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies forward Zach LeDay (32) reacts after dunking against Wisconsin Badgers guard D'Mitrik Trice (0) in the second half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Justin Bibbs (10) tries to drive around Wisconsin Badgers guard Khalil Iverson (21) in the first half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Justin Robinson (5) passes the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Seth Allen #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts after their 74-84 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Justin Bibbs #10 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts after their 74-84 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: The Wisconsin Badgers bench reacts against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. The Wisconsin Badgers won 84-74. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Justin Bibbs #10 high-fives teammate Ty Outlaw #42 of the Virginia Tech Hokies against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Bronson Koenig #24 of the Wisconsin Badgers drives against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. The Wisconsin Badgers won 84-74. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Justin Robinson #5 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts to a missed shot against the Wisconsin Badgers in the second half during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 16: Zach LeDay #32 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts as he fouls out of the game in the second half against the Wisconsin Badgers during the first round of the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at KeyBank Center on March 16, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. The Wisconsin Badgers won 84-74. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Wisconsin had a much more difficult task in the first round, having to get past a Hokies squad that was making its first March Madness appearance under coach Buzz Williams in its first trip to the big dance in a decade.

Despite trailing from midway through the first half onwards, Virginia Tech didn't fold against a team with vastly more tournament experience. The Hokies cut the deficit down to a solitary point numerous times in the second half but couldn't come up with the bucket to flip the advantage in their direction.

Zach LeDay led the Hokies (22-11) with 23 points. Ty Outlaw added 16 points and seven rebounds. Justin Robinson had 11 points and six assists, and Seth Allen contributed 10 points.

Koenig seemed to come up with an answer every time, knocking down 3-pointers with 8:22 and 5:21 to play, each time pushing the lead back up to four.

The final time Virginia Tech got within one point, senior Nigel Hayes (16 points) who rescued Wisconsin with a three-point play, restoring a 77-73 advantage with 2:07 left.

Badgers senior forward Ethan Happ (10 points, eight rebounds) followed that with a put-back off a Koenig miss to expand the lead to five. After two missed Virginia Tech foul shots, an offensive rebound by Wisconsin's D'Mitrik Trice led to two game-sealing Koening free throws with 36 ticks remaining.

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