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Mar 6, 2024; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Dalton Knecht (3) drives against the South Carolina Gamecocks in the first half at Colonial Life Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Keeps Dancing, Knocking Out Saint Peters in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

The number 2 seeded Tennessee Volunteers (25-8, 14-4 SEC) defeated the 15 seeded Saint Peters Peacocks (19-14, 12-8 MAAC), 83-49, Thursday night in the first round of the men’s basketball NCAA Tournament in the Spectrum Center.

The Vols Dominant From the Start

The Vols got on the board early with a three point shot from Dalton Knecht 20 seconds into the game. Knecht led the team with 23 total points in the game, and eight rebounds. Other key players for Tennessee was Jonas Aidoo with 15 total points and Zakai Zeigler with 11 total points. The Vols continued to drive the ball to the basket throughout the whole first half and gained their largest lead of the half at 29 points with 55 seconds left in the first. Roy Clarke, hit a buzzer beater 3-pointer for Saint Peters to bring the score to 46-20 at the half.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes gave praise to his players for how they attacked in the first half, and especially to the defense for holding the large lead.

Saint Peters Unable to Make a Comeback

Saint Peters was unable to match Tennessee scoring and defensively they had little answer for the Vols.  Tennessee hit the largest spread of 36 points with 2:32 left in the game. Saint Peters was led by team leader Latrell Reid with 17 total points, and Marcus Randolph with nine total points. The Vols secured the win with a 34 point spread over the Peacocks.

Moving On

Saint Peters season is now over, but this was the Peacocks’ second appearance in three years in the NCAA Tournament. The Vols will be moving on to the second round for a third consecutive season. Tennessee will now face Texas with both teams hoping to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

Zeigler and Barnes both give credit to the Texas program, but confirmed that the Vols will be tough and ready to face the Longhorns this Saturday.

Barnes:

Zeigler:

Tennessee will take on Texas March 23 at 8 PM in Spectrum Center.

 

About TaylorAnn Eidam

TaylorAnn Eidam is a second-year sports management major with an interest in sports communication and digital marketing.

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