ORLANDO, Fla. (WJHL) – Despite a slow start in the sunshine state, fourth-seed Tennessee dialed up the defensive pressure to bounce Duke from the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on Saturday afternoon, 65-52.
The Vols grabbed eight steals and forced 15 turnovers in the win, while Olivier Nkamhoua exploded for 27 points to send Rocky Top to its first Round of 16 since 2019.
“Sometimes you have nights where you feel like everything is going to fall, but we’ve got the type of team that everybody can step up and everybody can make shots,” Nkamhoua said after the game.
Santiago Vescovi chipped in 14 points, five rebounds and five assists in the win. As a team, the Vols wracked up 15 assists on 23 made buckets against the Blue Devils.
“We know how good we can be,” Vols sophomore guard Jahmai Mashack said. “You guys saw a great performance that we just did right there, but we can bring it to another level and we all know that. This is just the beginning – it’s just the start to a big run we want to make in March.”
Duke saw three players finish in double-figures, led by Tyrese Proctor’s 16 points and six assists. Kyle Filipowksi and Jeremy Roach each notched 13 points in defeat.
Tennessee (25-10) will play either Florida Atlantic or Farleigh-Dickenson in Madison Square Garden on Thursday.