Tennessee 83, Mercer 63: Josh Richardson scored a career-high 26 points and Jarnell Stokes collected 17 points and 18 rebounds as the Volunteers dominated the undersized Bears in NCAA tournament Midwest regional action in Raleigh, N.C.
Antonio Barton scored 18 points and Jordan McRae added 14 as 11th-seeded Tennessee (24-12) won its third NCAA tournament game in five days to advance to the Sweet 16 against No. 2 seed Michigan on Friday in Indianapolis. The Volunteers outrebounded Mercer 41-19, including an 18-7 margin on the offensive glass.
Langston Hall scored 15 points and Ike Nwamu added 12 off the bench for No. 14 seed Mercer (27-9), which stayed in it early with hot 3-point shooting but couldn't match the Volunteers' size inside. Anthony White Jr. scored 11 points and Daniel Coursey contributed 10 for the Atlantic Sun champions, who knocked off No. 3 seed Duke on Friday.
Mercer hung around for much of the first half thanks to five 3-pointers and was within 19-16 after a Bud Thomas 3-pointer just past the halfway mark of the half, but Tennessee eventually wore down the Bears. The Vols outscored the Bears 23-11 for the remainder of the period to take a 42-27 lead into the break and held a 24-4 rebounding edge at the half.
Hall's jumper with just over 2 1/2 minutes left pulled Mercer within 72-61, but that was as close as the Bears got in the second half. Richardson and McRae combined for a 5-0 spurt and then McRae and Jeronne Maymon each hit a pair of free throws down the stretch to seal it.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Stokes set a school record for rebounds in an NCAA tournament game and recorded his 22nd double-double, matching Bernard King for Tennessee's single-season record. … Tennessee improved to 9-0 when Barton (4-for-9) makes at least three 3-pointers. … Tennessee's starters scored 81 of its 83 points with the only two from the bench coming on Rawane Ndiaye's basket with 21 seconds left.