Colgate had won 11 games in a row coming into Friday afternoon’s matchup against the Vols.
The Raiders almost pushed their streak to 12, but they could not pull out the win, despite pushing their opponent to the brink.
No. 2 seed Tennessee survived a scare and beat No. 15 seed Colgate, 77-70, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Here are several takeaways from Friday’s game:
Colgate’s second-half run
In the first half—for the most part—Tennessee looked like a 1-seed and its opponent looked like a 15-seed.
The Vols led 42-30 at the intermission.
If Tennessee thought it had things wrapped up at that point, it was sorely mistaken. The Raiders came out of the gates hot in the second half, eventually taking a two-point lead.
“We knew this would happen,” Lamonte Turner said. “We knew they were going to make a run. They’re a good team, it’s not like they can’t play basketball. They’re good, that’s why they’re in the NCAA Tournament.”
Every fan in attendance, with the exception of those in orange, made it a road-esque atmosphere for the highly seeded Vols. Colgate guard Jordan Burns led the charge with 32 points on 12 of 20 shooting, including an 8 of 13 effort from 3-point land.
“I actually blocked a shot that went in,” Turner said. “The next possession he came down and went off the glass…he’s a really good player. I gotta give credit to him. This is March Madness, anything can happen.”
Colgate finished the game shooting 15 of 29 from 3-point range.
Tucker Richardson went a perfect 2-for-2 and Will Rayman added a 2 of 6 effort.
“We have a saying that in March, it seems like everybody’s percentage goes up 10 percent,” Admiral Schofield said. “It seems like everything starts falling. You gotta credit them, they shot a lot of threes and they made a lot of threes.”
With the game hanging in the balance, Tennessee got some crucial baskets from key players.
Junior guard Jordan Bowden scored back-to-back buckets—the second coming on a fast break slam—to give the Vols a four-point lead with just under 10 minutes to go. He finished the game with 14 points on 6 of 10 shooting.
Then it was Schofield’s turn.
He one-upped Bowden, drilling two 3-pointers in the final four minutes to put the Raiders away.
“I can score from anywhere,” Schofield said. “That was a good look for me…that first one went in and then it was just repetition. Just shooting it the same way every time I caught it, with a hand in my face or not.”
Tennessee faces Iowa on Sunday at Nationwide Arena for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16. The Hawkeyes earned their spot with a win against Cincinnati prior to the Vols’ win.
Tipoff will be determined after the conclusion of Friday’s games.
“It felt good to get out there and get that first win,” Turner said. “Now we gotta move on to Iowa. They are a really good team and I’m sure our coaches are going to do a really good job of getting us ready for them.”