Tyreke Key scored 12 points, Jahmai Mashack added 11 and No. 4 seed Tennessee survived a late scare to beat Louisiana-Lafayette 58-55 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday night.
The Ragin’ Cajuns (26-8) cut an 18-point deficit to three in the final minute, creating some tense moments and a couple of technicals, but the Volunteers (24-10) closed it out by forcing hard shots and scoring just enough. free shots.
Tennessee, which lost six of 10 heading into the tournament, advanced to face fifth-seeded Duke in the East Region second round at the Amway Center.
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The Blue Devils defeated No. 12 seed Oral Roberts 74-51 early Thursday, handing Duke coach Jon Scheyer a victory in his tournament debut.
It will be the first meeting between Tennessee and Duke in the NCAA Tournament.
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The Vols should expect to take much better care of the ball than they did against the Sun Belt Conference Tournament champions.
They finished with 18 turnovers in Game 4 without starting point guard Zakai Zeigler, who tore a ligament in his left knee in the team’s final regular-season game. Zeigler led the Southeastern Conference with 6.5 assists per game.
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Uros Plavsic added nine points and Oliver Nkamhoua chipped in eight for Tennessee.
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Jordan Brown led the Ragin’ Cajuns with 16 points.