ORLANDO, Fl. (WNCN) — Getting out-rebounded and having a recipe for turning the ball over sunk the Duke Blue Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday afternoon.
No. 5 Duke was bounced from the NCAA Tournament by No. 4 Tennessee, 65-52, after losing the rebounding, turnover, free throw, assist, steal, block and foul battle Saturday afternoon.
The Blue Devils (27-9) were only better in overall field goal percentage, 44-40 percent, and technically defensive rebounds when you break it down — but was still out-rebounded in the game.
Duke had three players in double figures and was led by guard Tyrese Proctor’s 16 points. Guard Jeremy Roach and center Kyle Filipowski each had 13.
For the Volunteers, two players finished in double figures — but it was forward Olivier Nkamhoua tying his career-high 27 that led the way for the team win. Guard Santiago Vescovi had 14.
Duke was out-rebounded 34-30, lost the turnover battle 15-9, outshot from the charity stripe 77-57 percent, downed in assists 15-10, had five less steals (8-3), out-blocked by one (5-4) and committed six more fouls (17-11).
Tennessee 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 different to combat these Vols, who used a brand of “bully ball” to send the Blue Devils packing.
“We want to be physical,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “We feel we’re at our best when we can do that.”
Nkamhoua made 10-of-13 shots and put an exclamation mark on Tennessee’s victory with an emphatic slam with 1:15 remaining. It prompted Vols fans to start chanting and sent Duke fans scrambling for the exits.
Tennessee advanced to face Florida Atlantic or Fairleigh Dickinson on Thursday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Duke didn’t handle Tennessee’s imposing style very well all afternoon.
The Volunteers set the tone early, clearly wanting to push around Filipowski and get their hands in the faces of guards’ Roach and Proctor.
Vols big man Uros Plavsic picked up two offensive fouls in the first four minutes, both going against Filipowski. Duke’s 7-footer later took an elbow to his face and ended up with a small cut under his left eye.
Proctor struggled to inbound the ball several times, getting a five-second call, turning it over once and nearly giving it up again. Roach had even more issues, pickup up his fourth foul with 15 minutes remaining and finishing with five turnovers.
“We’re always ready for a dogfight,” Nkamhoua said. “When we get people playing our game, that’s an advantage for us.”
It also helped that the Vols took much better care of the ball than they did in their first-round victory against Louisiana-Lafayette. They turned it over just nine times, half as many as they did Thursday, and their fewest since point guard Zakai Zeigler sustained a season-ending knee injury last month.