The cardiac inducing roller coaster that’s been the NCAA Tournament for No. 2 Tennessee took another sharp turn on its way to the station Sunday. It took overtime, but Tennessee is dancing into the Sweet 16 for just the eighth time in team history after toppling the 10-seed Iowa Hawkeyes 83-77.
After taking their largest lead ever in an NCAA Tournament game at the break, the Vols blew a 25-point late first-half lead as the very game Hawkeyes mounted a stirring comeback, outscoring Tennessee 43-21 in the final twenty minutes to force an extra frame.
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With 3:39 left in overtime, Grant Williams passed through a double team to find a wide-open Jordan Bone beyond the arc for a 3-pointer that would give Tennessee a 5-point cushion.
“These guys found a way to get it done. And the credit really does go to them,“ Rick Barnes said. “They worked really hard. And it hasn’t been easy because as a program we work, but they’ve embraced that.“
Admiral Schofield had 19 points, including 17 in the first half to power Tennessee’s dominant start, while two-time SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams was the finisher, finishing with 19 and 7 rebounds after scoring just 7 in the first half.
“I have the most respect for Admiral,“ Grant Williams said. “How we set the tone was incredible because he was knocking down shots, and defensively he was amazing.“
Lamonte Turner scored 15 points, while Jordan Bone added 14 and 3 assists. Kyle Alexander finished with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
Tennessee advances to play No. 3 Purdue in the South Region semifinal next Thursday.