UT ends Duke’s 10-match winning streak, advances to Sweet 16

2 hours ago
Tennessee Athletics

Photo: Tennessee Athletics

ORLANDO, Fla. – 27 career-high points from Olivier Nkamhoua and a breath-taking defensive performance led to fourth seed Tennessee on Saturday, as the Vols clinched their ninth Sweet Sixteen appearance in show history with the win. 65-52 ahead of 5th seed Duke.

With the win, Tennessee (25-10) advances to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2019. The Vols will face Florida Atlantic or Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The tip off time has not been announced yet.

Nkamhoua’s 27 points-23 of which came in the second half, marking the highest of his career on January 28 against Texas and taking 10/13 shots from the field, including 3/4 from distance. cup 3 points. From the 8:43 to the 4:16 minute of the second half, Nkamhoua scored 13 consecutive points for Vols. In total, he scored 17 of Tennessee’s final 19 points.

Santiago Vescovi is Tennessee’s second most effective goalscorer, scoring 14 points with four 3-pointers, while also having five assists and five rebounds.

Jonas Aidoo also made an impact with an all-round performance – 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Tennessee’s tight defensive performance is evident on the scoreboard, as Duke’s 52 points is not only the lowest point of the season for the Blues but also the lowest point in an NCAA Tournament game in program archive history. The Vols forced Duke to do 15 spins.

After taking a six-point lead at halftime, Tennessee extended the lead to nine points early in the second half thanks to a three-point pairing from Josiah-Jordan James and Nkamhoua, but Duke quickly fought to stop it. break Vols’ just two points with 15:40 after a quick 7-0 run.

For the first time in many times in the second half, the Vols responded with a quick sprint of their own to maintain the gap with the Blues – who were leading Duke 11-4 for the next four minutes of time. competed to take a nine-point lead with 11:54 left, 44-35.

Immediately after Tennessee’s run, Duke responded with a run-up of their own Tennessee lead, dropping to just 4 with 9:10 remaining, 46-42.

Then came in Nkamhoua, who in the 13-6 game in Tennessee scored all 13 of the Vols to put Tennessee in control to take the lead 11 with 4:16.

With an all-but-guaranteed win after just over a minute of play, Nkamhoua put an exclamation point on his performance and Tennessee’s win with a 1:15 backstop.

Tennessee’s defensive intensity also set the tone for the whole first half, as the Vols led 27-21 at halftime. Duke’s 21 points in the first half is the least of any inning this season.

After a contentious opening seven minutes, Duke created some 9-0 lead to take a six-to-nine lead 19-13 with 8:05 to start the first half.

However, Tennessee reacted with its biggest shortfall of the inning by ending the opening time 14-2 in the final 7:49. Of the Vols’ 14 points during the explosive run, 11 came from duos Vescovi and Aidoo, who each had eight points for the team in the first half.


Tennessee advances to Sweet Sixteen and will face either Florida Atlantic or Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The tip off time has not been announced yet.


Saturday’s win gave Tennessee its ninth Sweet Sixteen appearance in the show’s history and its first since 2019. The Vols had previously competed in the Round of 16 in 1967, 1981, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2014 and 2019.


For the sixth time this season, the Vols donned their “Tennessee Classic” uniforms and improved to 6-0 in doing so. Big Orange also wore the Tennessee Classic uniform in victories over No. 10 Texas, No. 1 Alabama, Arkansas, in the SEC Tournament with Ole Miss and in the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Louisiana.


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