It took more than the scheduled 40 minutes, but the Vols were able to rally and advance past the Iowa Hawkeyes by a score of 78-65 on Wednesday night.
Jordan McRae led the Vols (22-12) in scoring with 20 points as the Vols ended all talk of having to “play-in” to the tournament with the win.
Iowa (20-13) led early and looked to be in control of the game until the Vols rallied to within three to end the first half.
The Hawkeyes started strong in the second half, but Tennessee was able to stay within striking distance. UT guard Josh Richardson heated up in the second half to give the Vols some momentum. Richardson finished with 17 points, including a furious dunk over Iowa guard Mike Gesell.
Tennessee’s physicality was ultimately too much for the Hawkeyes to handle. Jarnell Stokes had another huge game with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Antonio Barton added 10 points.
The Vols outscored Iowa 14-1 in overtime to secure Cuonzo Martin’s first NCAA tournament win as the Vols’ head coach.
Tennessee will play the 6 seeded UMass Minutemen on Friday afternoon.