DALLAS — Tennessee basketball’s return to the NCAA Tournament proved to be a short one, the Vols missing on a last-second shot and chance to advance to the Sweet 16.
Loyola-Chicago scored a 63-62 win over Tennessee on Saturday at American Airlines Center in the round of 32.
The Vols (26-9) rallied to reclaim the lead after trailing by 9 points with 3 minutes, 25 seconds left, finding their shooting range and muscle in the paint.
Admiral Schofield hit a 3-pointer for his first points of the second half, triggering an 11-1 run that Grant Williams capped with a conventional 3-point play.
Williams’ basket and ensuing free throw gave the Vols a 62-61 lead with 20.1 seconds left, Tennessee’s first advantage since the 6-minute mark of the first half.
Loyola-Chicago wasn’t finished, however.
Guard Clayton Custer hit a jumper that rattled in with 3.6 seconds left to put the Ramblers back up 63-62.
Tennessee’s Jordan Bone then raced the ball up court, but his shot from the top of the key rattled out at the buzzer.
Schofield led the Vols with 14 points on 5-of-10 shooting, while Bone had 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
Tennessee trailed 29-25 at the half, falling behind in the midst of an 8-0 Loyola-Chicago run with Schofield on the bench with two fouls.
The Ramblers outrebounded the Vols 14-12 through the first 20 minutes and dished 10 assists with just 6 turnovers.
Loyola-Chicago was more efficient in just about every aspect in the first half, including going 4 for 4 at the free-throw line while Tennessee was 1 of 3.
The Vols guards struggled from beyond the 3-point arc early, going a combined 1 of 8 in the first half.
The Ramblers were 11 of 16 at the free-throw line, while Tennessee was just 3 of 6.
Admiral’s foul issues
Early foul troubles took Admiral Schofield out of sync.
Tennessee was leading 15-12 at the 11:56 mark when Schofield picked up his second foul and went to the bench.
Schofield scored 11 of the Vols’ first 15 points, but without him on the floor, Tennessee struggled. Loyola-Chicago was up 25-22 when Schofield re-entered at the 4:33 mark. Schofield was a non-factor much of the second half.
Tennessee jumped to a 15-6 lead and hit 6 of 8 shots the first 5 minutes.
Loyola-Chicago adjusted, however, and the Vols shot 4 of 18 during the final 15 minutes of the first half.
Jordan Bone was the only Tennessee player to score a basket the final 7½ minutes of the first half, hitting a 3-pointer at the 6:44 mark and a jumper with 34 seconds left.