ORLANDO, Fla. (WATE) — The Vols hung on in the second half to advance to the NCAA Tournament Round of 32 with a 58-55 win. Tennessee seemed to be in control at halftime, but Louisiana made it interesting in the second period.
The Vols and Ragin’ Cajuns swapped runs early in the contest. Rick Barnes switched to a 2-3 zone out of the first media timeout. Tennessee proceeded to go on a 9-0 run to go up 19-11.
Louisiana’s Jordan Brown proved to be a problem in the post. Brown led the Ragin’ Cajuns on an 8-0 run to tie the game up at 19.
Both teams continued to trade blows. Tennessee finished the first half on an 11-0 run capped by an Uros Plavsic buzzer-beater to take a 30-19 lead at the break.
The Vols maintained their double-digit lead to start the second half, but Louisana sparked a 13-0 run about midway through the period to pull within five.
Louisiana made it a one-possession game with at 56-53 with 23.1 seconds left. Josiah-Jordan James was fouled and hit one-of-two. The Ragin’ Cajuns heaved a three that missed the rim. Julian Phillips sealed it by draining one-of-two, as well.
Tyreke Key led the Vols in scoring with 12 points. Jahmai Mashack poured in 11.
UP NEXT: The Vols will clash with the Duke Blue Devils on Saturday at 2:40 p.m.