Local Teams


National Basketball Association
BOXSCORE | RECAP
Tennessee 88, Longwood 56
When: 2:45 PM ET, Thursday, March 17, 2022
Where: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Officials: # Chuck Jones, # Bill Ek, # Ray Natali
Attendance: 15782

INDIANAPOLIS -- Driven by a perceived Selection Sunday slight, Tennessee had a message for the doubters Thursday: Take this seed and plant it.

The Vols smothered 14th-seeded Longwood 88-56 in a first round NCAA Tournament statement victory in Indianapolis.

The South Region No. 3 seed, Tennessee (27-7) won its eighth game in row and returns to the same court Saturday to face No. 11 seed Michigan.

Santiago Vescovi scored 18 points, Josiah-Jordan James had 17 with nine rebounds and Tennessee force fed a basketball clinic to underdog Longwood with 29 assists on 33 field goals and 22 points off turnovers.

"We just talked this week leading up to this game, being the more desperate team and knowing that every team in this tournament is a championship team, and so you can't take anything for granted," James said. "I felt like we did a good job in preparing for that."

The Vols openly ran with their stars through mop-up duty to finish the first-round victory with added emphasis.

SEC tournament MVP Kennedy Chandler made two open 3s to give the Vols a 36-point lead with 5:50 to play, then was fouled trying to dunk in transition.

Chandler finished with 13 points, five assists and five rebounds.

"We just said, 'Hey, let's be ready to go from the beginning. Let's be who we are. Let's do what we have done to get us here. Let's trust each other, trust what we do,'' Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said.

The St. Patrick's Day celebration was all white and orange at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Longwood, which committed 16 turnovers, was led by guard Justin Hill's 13 points.

A 13-0 Tennessee run to end the first half deflated Longwood (26-7) and the Vols maintained all-gas, no-brake focus as Barnes secured his 25th career tournament win. Barnes said this week Tennessee would respond to being a 3 seed. Tennessee's lead hovered around 30 points for most of the second half.

The Vols are 13-1 in their last 14 games, including the SEC tournament championship and two wins over Kentucky.

Exasperated Longwood coach Griff Aldrich led the Lancers to the program's first ever NCAA Tournament appearance and was the lone source of energy in the second half as he watched the flammable Volunteers thrive.

"When you're 18 to 22 years old, you don't quite understand things the way 47-year-olds do," said Aldrich. "But it's just a special, special season and a really special group of guys. And I could not be more proud of them."

Tennessee flexed into overdrive, forced 11 turnovers and poured in a season-high 54 points on 66.7 percent shooting (18 assists on 20 field goals, 8 of 13 from 3-point range) in the opening half to lead by 25.

Vescovi scorched the nets with three of Tennessee's four 3-pointers in the first-half burst that stretched the Vols' lead to 41-26. The lefty nailed another with 2:32 remaining to push his point total to 12 before one of his shots finally touched rim. He landed another with 14:40 left in the game that gave Tennessee a 67-34 edge.

Michigan is 2-0 against Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament, including a Sweet 16 win in Indianapolis in 2014.

--By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media

Top Game Performances
 
Longwood   Tennessee
Justin Hill 13 Scoring Santiago Vescovi 18
Jordan Perkins 3 Assists Santiago Vescovi 7
Jordan Perkins 4 Rebounds Josiah-Jordan James 9
Jordan Perkins 3 Free Throws Made Kennedy Chandler 2
Justin Hill 4 Steals Kennedy Chandler 4
Zac Watson 1 Blocks Josiah-Jordan James 1
Team Stats Summary
 
Team Points FG% 3PM-3PA FTM-FTA Assists Rebounds Blocks Steals Turnovers
Longwood 56 38.5 7-22 9-11 15 22 1 9 16
Tennessee 88 60.0 14-24 8-11 29 28 1 13 12