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(Friday, March 18th)
Final Score: Michigan 75, Tennessee 45
Charlotte, NC (Sports Network) - Zack Novak scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, as the Michigan Wolverines used a dominant second half to beat the Tennessee Volunteers, 75-45, in a West Region matchup.
The eighth-seeded Wolverines (21-13) also got key contributions from Tim Hardaway, Jr., Matt Vogrich and Stu Douglass, who all supplied 11 points in the lopsided victory.
"We were thrilled with our performance," Michigan head coach John Beilein said.
Michigan will face top-seeded Duke in the third round on Sunday.
Tobias Harris posted all 19 of his points in the first half for ninth-seeded Tennessee (19-15), which reached the Elite Eight last year.
The Volunteers were outscored 42-16 after halftime in what may have been Bruce Pearl's final game as head coach. Pearl's job status recently became a hot topic of discussion after his athletic director indicated the university might part ways with the embattled coach in the wake of his SEC-imposed eight-game suspension for recruiting violations.
"This was a very difficult loss," Pearl said. "I give Michigan credit. We unraveled and we struggled down the stretch. We tried really hard to have it just be about basketball."
As expected in an 8-9 matchup, the first half was tightly contested. The second half, however, was a completely different story.
Michigan opened the frame on a 19-2 surge to expand its lead to 52-31. Tennessee closed to within 56-40 with 11 minutes to play, but the Wolverines scored 14 consecutive points for a 70-40 advantage.
Despite an impressive performance by Harris, the Volunteers trailed 33-29 at halftime.
The freshman forward scored the first eight points for Tennessee, which led 23-17 on a Scotty Hopson free throw with about seven minutes remaining.
Evan Smotrycz then ended a 10-0 Michigan run by draining a three-pointer for a 27-23 cushion.
Tennessee went seven minutes without a field goal until a Harris dunk snapped the drought with about 30 seconds remaining. Darius Morris then hit an acrobatic driving layup as time expired to put Michigan up by four at the break.
Harris registered 19 of Tennessee's 29 first-half points, going 6-of-6 from the floor and converting all seven free throws. He missed all five of his shots in the second half.
Douglass added five assists and Jordan Morgan had 10 points for Michigan, which became the first team in NCAA Tournament history to win a game without making a free throw...No Tennessee player, other than Harris, scored more than six points...The Volunteers shot just 26 percent (6-for-23) in the second half...Tennessee was making its school-record sixth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
03/18 17:28:08 ET
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