Tennessee (15-15, 7-10 SEC) visited LSU (10-19, 2-15 SEC) to play its final road game of the season and came away with its first loss in Baton Rouge since 2006.
There was plenty of offense in this game as the Tigers came out on top, 92-82. Both teams traded buckets throughout the first half. Grant Williams scored 16 points, had a season-high 14 rebounds and recorded four blocks for the Vols. Shembari Phillips scored 16 and Lamonte Turner added 14 points off the bench.
LSU had four players finish in double figures, three of whom came off the bench. The Tigers tried to get sophomore guard and their leading scorer Antonio Blakeney involved, but he could not find his rhythm and finished with just six points. However, Brandon Sampson picked up the slack with 24 points and Jalyn Patterson added 22 points from the bench.
Tennessee took a 46-42 lead into halftime despite LSU shooting 50 percent from the field. The Tigers got going in the second half with an early 11-0 run while the Vols’ offense went ice cold. Free throws were keeping Tennessee in the game, but the Vols missed 12 consecutive field goal attempts at one point as LSU began to pull away.
Williams was frustrated with the team’s defense allowing the Tigers to shoot 46.7 percent from three. “On defense we didn’t guard them whatsoever,” Williams said. “They’re really good shooters and we just didn’t guard them.”
Tennessee climbed back within single digits with under three minutes to go, but the Tigers had an answer for every bucket made by the Vols.
“From our end, just very disappointing in the way we defended tonight,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. “We knew they had the ability to score a lot of points and we didn’t defend.”
LSU outscored the Vols 36-18 in the paint and 49-31 in bench points. It is the second time Tennessee has allowed 90 points this season, the first since allowing 94 points to Appalachian State back in November.
Tennessee returns home on Saturday to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the final game of the regular season. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network.
Edited by Quinn Pilkey
Featured image by Brad Blackwelder