UT Relieved to Beat American

Volunteers pull away late from determined Eagles
By Mitch Pritchard,  Newser User
Posted Mar 21, 2008 2:54 PM CDT
American University's Derrick Mercer (3) drives to the basket as Tennessee's Tyler Smith (1) defends in an NCAA first-round game today.    (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
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(Newser) – American University didn't back down from No. 2 seed Tennessee today, but in the end talent overcame courage and the Volunteers pulled out a 72-57 win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, reports the Washington Post. The Eagles were within a point with six minutes left, but they ran out of steam in their first NCAA game.

American (21-12) out-rebounded the larger Volunteers 21-12 in the first half, but Tennessee (30-4) finished the half with a 6-1 scoring run to lead 29-22. JaJuan Smith led the Volunteers on the afternoon with 19 points and six assists. Garrison Carr led the Eagles with 26 points. A Smith 3-pointer sparked a 7-2 run with 4:17 left to put the game away for the Vols.