Columbus, OH – For eighth time in program history, the Tennessee Vols are heading to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, following an 83-77 victory in overtime against Iowa at Nationwide Arena on Sunday.
It’s the first time since 2014 that the Tennessee Vols have reached the Sweet Sixteen, and head coach Rick Barnes is just the 12th head coach to lead a third Division I program to the Sweet Sixteen. The Vols (31-5) will take on No. 3 seed Purdue in Louisville, KY, on Thursday.
With 31 victories this season, the Tennessee Vols has tied the program record for wins in a single season (2007-08).
During the game, the Big Orange also broke the program record for assists in a single season (645), surpassing the previous mark of 637 during the 2007-08 season.
Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams led all scorers with 19 points each to help lead Tennessee to the wire-to-wire victory. Williams, the two-time SEC Player of the Year, finished with seven rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocks to fuel UT on both ends of the floor. His four steals matched the Tennessee record for steals in an NCAA Tournament game.
Lamonte Turner had an impressive game, tallying 15 points, six rebounds and three assists. However, the junior guard’s presence was felt the most on the defensive end, where he helped the Vols shut down Iowa’s 3-point shooting (7-of-21) and keep the Hawkeyes from getting into their offense.
With the momentum all the way in Iowa’s favor, Tennessee found its rhythm again in overtime, scoring the first seven points to take a 78-71 lead. A deep 3-pointer from Jordan Bone with two seconds left on the shot clock highlighted the run. The All-SEC guard finished with 14 points. After that, the Hawkeyes (23-12) were unable to rally back from the swing in momentum.
The Vols jumped out to an early 20-9 lead in the first five and a half minutes of the game, forcing Iowa to call a timeout. Schofield sparked the run by knocking down back-to-back threes to start the game.
Tennessee kept the pressure on the Hawkeyes the entire half, using an 18-3 run to make it a 40-17 game with six minutes left in the period. The Big Orange shot 51 percent from the floor and held a 24-8 advantage in the paint to take a commanding 49-28 lead into halftime.
Twenty-one points was the largest halftime lead ever for the Vols in an NCAA Tournament game. The previous record was in 2014, when Tennessee held a 41-22 advantage going into halftime against UMass.
Iowa stormed back after halftime, outscoring Tennessee 30-12 during the first 13 minutes of the second half to make it a one-possession game. The Vols shot just 33 percent from the field in the second half and turned the ball over 10 times, which directly led to 17 points for the Hawkeyes.
Down two with 20 seconds left, Iowa’s Joe Wieskamp drew a foul and knocked down both free throws to tie the game. Bone got an open look from three but just missed it, sending the game to overtime tied 71-71.