EditorsNote: 2nd update, last graf, to add result of other game, Friday pairings
Reigning SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds on Wednesday to lead No. 5 Tennessee to a 92-81 victory over Louisville in the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Admiral Schofield rediscovered his shooting stroke, connecting on four 3-pointers and tallying 20 points, six rebounds and four assists. Schofield made a total of three shots from beyond the arc in the season’s first three games.
Lamonte Turner added 13 points, including four points during a crucial run in the second half that allowed the Volunteers (4-0) to pull away. Jordan Bone and John Fulkerson each had 11 points.
Jordan Nwora recorded a double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the way for the Cardinals (3-1), who lost for the first time under new coach Chris Mack. Nwora also turned the ball over eight times.
Dwayne Sutton scored 12 points, all on 3-pointers, before fouling out. Akoy Agau added 11 points and five boards for Louisville.
The game was tied seven times, and there were 11 lead changes until the Volunteers went on a 14-0 run to open up their largest lead of the game at 85-70.
Williams made one of two free throws with 8:30 remaining to ignite the charge. After Kyle Alexander followed with a layup and free throw, Schofield scored six of the next 10 Tennessee points.
Louisville went scoreless for nearly 4 1/2 minutes until Christian Cunningham made one of two free throws with 4:12 remaining.
The first half was a contrast of styles. The Cardinals scored 21 of their points from beyond the arc while the Volunteers dominated the paint with 28 points to take a 45-40 halftime lead.
Foul trouble plagued the Cardinals in the second half. Besides Sutton fouling out, three others finished with four fouls.
The Volunteers turned 14 Cardinals turnovers into 23 points and outscored Louisville in the paint, 44-28.
In Friday’s final, Tennessee will play No. 2 Kansas, which defeated Marquette in Wednesday’s other game. Louisville will face Marquette on Friday before the title game.
—Field Level Media