It’s called March Madness for a reason, and the 2014 NCAA tournament continues to reward the underdogs.
The No. 11 seed Tennessee Volunteers became the seventh double-digit seed to advance in the field—and the fourth on Friday alone—blowing out the No. 6 seed UMass Minutemen 86-67 on Friday afternoon in Raleigh.
With the win, the Volunteers advance to an improbable third-round matchup with No. 14 seed Mercer, who earlier in the day upset No. 3 seed Duke on the same court.
Tennessee (23-12) dominated the game on both offense and defense, never allowing the Minutemen much space to run their offense. They only trailed once, at 2-0 in the opening seconds, and led by as many as 24 points in the second half.
The Volunteers had a chance to set a record for largest margin of victory by a No. 11 seed over a No. 6 seed—the largest margin since the field expanded to 64+ teams is 20—but lost that chance in the closing seconds of the game.
UMass (24-9) became the second Atlantic 10 team to fall in the tournament, and they did so by never really being in the game.
The Minutemen fell behind by 19 points at the half, but were able to close the gap to just 10 with just under 14 minutes to play.
But they would get no closer.
Tennessee was led by their two big forwards, each of which had a double-double.
Jarnell Stokes led the Vols with 26 points and 14 boards. Jeronne Maymon added 11 points and 11 boards. Jordan McRae also dropped in 21 points.
The Minutemen were led Chaz Williams and Maxie Esho with 12 points apiece.
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