[title_box title=”Tennessee falters late to Texas A&M”]
Although Tennessee turned in a complete team effort with six players in double digits, sloppy play down the stretch allowed Texas A&M to steal a win at Knoxville.
Kevin Punter didn’t start off hot like he had the past couple of games, but Tennessee was still able to maintain a small lead in the beginning stages of the game. Detrick Mostella hit a couple of early three-pointers and Tennessee went on a 9-0 run.
A&M struggled to shoot the ball during the first few minutes and had seven early turnovers, but they answered Tennessee’s run with a 9-0 run of their own thanks to Tennessee’s carelessness with the ball. However, the Vols were still able to secure an eight point halftime lead.
Admiral Schofield led all scorers with 13 points and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field including 3-of-3 from deep. Punter didn’t hit a field goal in the first half, but made two free throws for just two first half points. Tennessee shot 55 percent from the field and beyond the arc but struggled to take care of the ball, racking up 13 first half turnovers.
Jalen Jones led the Aggies with 12 first half points but Texas A&M struggled in the first half and shot only 37 percent from the field.
In the second half, Punter heated up and had eight points in the first 10 minutes of play, helping Tennessee secure a double-digit lead. The Vols kept the lead near double digits for most of the half, but Texas A&M went on an impressive run at the four minute mark and grabbed the lead with just a minute and a half to play due to some terrible turnovers by Tennessee.
Punter hit a clutch three-pointer with 31 seconds left to cut the lead to one point, but it wasn’t enough as Texas A&M hit three of their last four free throws, dropping Tennessee to 1-2 in conference play. The Aggies finished the game on an 18-4 run.
Punter led the Vols in scoring again with 19 points and Schofield, Baulkman, Mostella, Hubbs III and Phillips all scored in double digits. Tennessee turned the ball over 18 times over the course of the game.
“The difference in the game was turnovers,” said coach Rick Barnes. “If you have a lead, your offense has to protect it for you and we didn’t do that today.”
Jones led all scorers with 27 points and Danuel House chipped in with 23 points. Texas A&M shot 63 percent from the floor in the second half, helping them pull off the comeback in dramatic fashion.
Tennessee travels to take on Georgia next Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST.
Edited by Hannah Hunnicutt