The Tennessee Volunteers defeated the Mercer Bears by comfortable margin as they moved out to a comfortable 42-27 halftime lead and then continued with hard nosed defensive play to actually extend the halftime lead by a five point margin at game’s end.
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The defensive intensity that Tennessee showed is a reflection of the relentless emphasis on defensive hustle by Volunteer Coach Cuonzo Martin, who was pumped at the way the Big Orange defenders finished out the first half without allowing Mercer to even get a shot off in its final possession as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Junior Josh Richardson tallied a career-high 26 points, 16 of which came in the first half, while Junior Jarnell Stokes posted his Tennessee-record tying 22nd double-double this season with 17 points and 18 rebounds. Stokes’ equalled the mark set by Basketball Hall of Famer Bernard King in 1976-77. Stokes also set the Vols’ NCAA Tournament for rebounds in a game with 18. He had tied the record in the second round win over UMass with 14.
(H/T: UT Sports dot Com)