Vols obliterate Pearl’s Tigers in first round of SEC Tournament

Tennessee got hot early and never slowed down against the Auburn Tigers in the first round of the SEC Tournament, winning 97-59.

Tennessee basketball. Photo by Jordan Dajani.

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The Vols were on a four-game losing streak and needed a jolt of energy if they wanted to make something special happen in March.

They got exactly that in what ended up being a 97-59 beat down of the Bruce Pearl-led Auburn Tigers in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

The last time Auburn took on Tennessee, the Tigers struggled to shoot the ball. Wednesday night’s game in Nashville seemed like an ugly continuation of what occurred in early February.

The Vols came out locked in on both sides of the court. Devon Baulkman hit two three- pointers and got Tennessee out to a quick 10-0 lead. Auburn missed six of its first seven shots, while Tennessee shot the ball particularly well from beyond the arc, making four of its first six three pointers.

“They were hot from deep early and that really affected us,” said Auburn forward Tyler Harris.

Vols forward Armani Moore after the win
Vols’ forward Armani Moore addresses the media after a big performance in the SEC Tournament. Photo by Jordan Dajani.

This trend continued throughout the first half. Behind the play of Armani Moore and Detrick Mostella, the Vols extended their lead to as much as 22 points in the first half.

Moore had 14 first-half points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. Mostella had 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Tennessee was successful in running the offense and got plenty of good looks at the basket. Altogether, Tennessee shot 54 percent from the floor in the first half.

Bryce Brown and T.J. Dunans both had five points in the first half for the Tigers. Auburn struggled to finish around the basket and shot a measly 25 percent from the field.

Tennessee started off the second half just as quickly as it started the first. Baulkman and Derek Reese hit three pointers and Moore had a quick six points, which extended the Tennessee lead to 27 points.

The Vols did not look back from there and pulled off their eighth SEC Tournament win in nine years.

Moore finished with 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and also recorded five assists. He wanted to make sure this was not the last game of his senior year.

“If we are going to go down, we are going to go down fighting,” Moore said. “Every time I put on this jersey I want to go out and compete. This means something to me.”

Tennessee had three other players score in double figures. Admiral Schofield had 12 points, Baulkman had 16, and Mostella had 17.

The Vols shot 64 percent from the field in the second half and also did a good job of distributing the ball, racking up 20 assists compared to Auburn’s four.

Tennessee is set to play Vanderbilt on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

Featured image by Jordan Dajani

Edited by Cody McClure and David Bradford

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Jordan Dajani is a junior journalism/electronic media major from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Follow him on twitter @JDnumba3.