[title_box title=”Vols fall short in stinging loss to Georgia Tech”]
Tipping off at 7 p.m. on Monday night, the Volunteers kicked off the famous 31 consecutive hours of college basketball on the road against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
After leading by a game-high nine points with less than 15 minutes to go, the Vols hit a slump and failed to regain the lead, slipping 69-67 to Georgia Tech.
Despite a late surge by the Volunteers, their efforts fell short at the buzzer as senior guard Devon Baulkman’s three point attempt sailed over the rim.
After both teams struggled to gain any real control over the game, the Volunteers struck for 11 consecutive points to start the second half.
Minutes later, Georgia Tech answered with a 10-0 run to regain the lead. Rick Barnes’ squad showed how the new up-tempo system can affect their play when depth is challenged down the stretch.
On a 1-for-14 shooting drought, the Volunteers fell behind by seven points with just under seven minutes remaining.
Tennessee made a late surge capped off by a three pointer from senior forward and Atlanta native Armani Moore to slim the lead to 69-67 with 1:47 remaining.
With three chances to tie the game or take the lead, the Volunteers failed to convert. Inconsistency rooted from lack of depth and fatigue ended up being the story of the night.
“I didn’t think we were disciplined at all on the offensive end when we had control of the game,” said Barnes. “Doing things that we haven’t seen as a staff, just throwing the ball around.”
Not having the production from their two stars, Armani Moore and Kevin Punter, inhibited the Vols in the close loss.
Although Moore led the team in scoring with 17 points in front of a hometown crowd, Punter suffered through cramps in the second half, only contributing nine points.
But where Punter fell short, junior Robert Hubbs III compensated. Hubbs was second in scoring for the Volunteers, racking up 13 points after some doubted his health.
After losing one of the “ones that bother you,” Barnes had optimism for the team.
“When your two best players don’t have a great night, and you’re right there, it should be encouraging for us,” said Barnes.
Despite shooting a poor 35.1 percent from the field, Tennessee outrebounded the Yellow Jackets 53-47. That is a positive takeaway for a team that seems to be mismatched on the boards.
Tennessee looks to bounce back Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena, where it will host Marshall at 7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.
Featured image by Ben Ozburn
Edited by Cody McClure