Tennessee gives Duke early March Madness exit to clinch Sweet 16 berth at MSG

College Basketball

March Madness 2023

March 18, 2023 | 17:29

Olivier Nkamhoua had a career-high 27 points, including 13 straight for Tennessee during a crucial second-half stretch, and the fourth-seeded Volunteers beat Duke 65-52 on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2019.

Tennessee (25-10) ended Duke’s 10-game winning streak and sent first-year coach Jon Scheyer, charged with replacing Mike Krzyzewski, home after just two NCAA Tournament games. Not sure Coach K could have done anything differently to combat these Vols, who used a type of bully ball to send the fifth-seeded Blue Devils (27-9) packing.

Nkamhoua punctuated Tennessee’s victory with an emphatic slam with 1:15 left. That sent Vols fans into a chant and sent many Duke fans heading for the exits.

Tennessee advanced to face Florida Atlantic or Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The win punches Tennessee’s ticket to the Sweet 16.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Duke didn’t handle Tennessee’s physical style very well all afternoon. The Volunteers set the tone early, clearly looking to pressure Kyle Filipowski and get their hands in the faces of guards Jeremy Roach and Tyrese Proctor.

Vols big man Uros Plavsic picked up two offensive fouls in the first four minutes, both against Filipowski. Duke’s 7-footer later took an elbow to the face and ended up with a small cut under his left eye.

Proctor struggled to get onto the ball several times, got a five-second call, turned it over once and almost gave it up again. Roach had even more trouble, finishing the first half with three errors and four turnovers.

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Duke star Kyle Filipowski suffered a cut under his eye during the game.
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

The Vols, meanwhile, took much better care of the ball than they did in their first-round win against Louisiana-Lafayette. They turned it over just nine times, their fewest since point guard Zakai Zeigler suffered a season-ending knee injury last month.

Proctor led Duke with 16 points. Mort and Filipowski chipped in 13 pieces.

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