4-seed Vols show toughness to beat 13-seed Louisiana

11 hours ago
Tennessee Athletics

ORLANDO – Fourth-seeded Tennessee overcame a late rally by No. 13 Louisiana to advance to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament after securing a 58-55 victory Thursday at the Amway Center.

Graduate Tyreke Key, playing in his first career NCAA Tournament game, led the Vols with 12 points in 31 minutes, his most minutes played since December. Jahmai Mashak was the only other Vol in double figures with 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting, three assists and two steals.

Urosh Plavsic, making his first start since Jan. 17, scored nine points on 4-of-5 shooting.

After going on an 11-0 run in the first half and then outscoring Louisiana 13-6 with 6:06 left in the second half, Tennessee extended its lead to 18 points.

The Vols led by 18 points in a two-minute span on three separate occasions before cutting Tennessee’s lead to just 5 on a 3-pointer by Kobe Julien in a 13-0 victory at Louisiana. 7:29, 48 left. -43.

Coming out of the timeout, Tennessee responded with a 6-2 run, and Mashak’s four points pulled back in front by nine points before the four-minute media timeout.

With less than a minute to go and Tennessee up by eight, Louisiana made one last comeback attempt, scoring five straight points to cut Tennessee’s lead to 56-53 with 23 seconds to play.

Josiah-Jordan James and Julian Phillips went 1-for-2 at the free throw line in the final 20 seconds to seal the victory for the Vols.

Tennessee turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, but ended the period on an 11-0 run to take a 30-19 halftime lead. Despite 12 turnovers of its own, Tennessee forced eight Louisiana State turnovers and limited the Ragin’ Cajuns to just 30 percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes.

The Vols led by eight points, 19-11, in the game’s opening 10 minutes before Louisiana scored eight straight to tie the game at 19 with 4:43 left in the first half.

With the score tied at 19, Tennessee then went on an 11-0 run over the final 4:06, capped by a Plavsic bucket just before the buzzer. Plavsic scored a team-high seven points on 3-of-3 shooting in the first half.

Jordan Brown, who was 5-for-8 from the field in the opening period, had 12 of Louisiana’s 19 points in the first half. No other Ragin’ Cajun made more than one field goal in the first half.

TENNESSEE CLASSIC UNIVERSITY UNIVERSITY IN ONE YEREVAN. For the fifth time this season, the Vols donned their Tennessee Classic uniforms and improved to 5-0 while doing so. The Big Orange also wore the Tennessee Classic uniform in wins over No. 10 Texas, No. 1 Alabama, Arkansas and Ole Miss in the SEC Tournament.


Tennessee advances to the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday against No. 5 seed Duke. Tip-off is scheduled for 2:40 PM ET on CBS.

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