Despite a slow start, No. 22 Tennessee traveled to Ames, Iowa on Saturday afternoon and defeated Iowa State 68-45 as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. In Rick Barnes 650th career win, James Daniel and Lamonte Turner led the way. The Vols are now 3-1 when participating in the two-conference showdown.
This is what you need to take away from Tennessee’s big road win, as the Vols have now won six of their last seven.
Lamonte Turner and James Daniel lead the way.
Hilton Coliseum is one of the toughest places to play in all of college basketball. When playing in such a tough environment, your primary ball-handlers have to step up and produce. Tennessee’s guards did just that.
Well, at least Lamonte Turner and James Daniel did. Jordan Bone scored just two points on 1-of-5 shooting and while Jordan Bowden excelled as a perimeter defender, he only managed to score seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.
It should be noted however, that despite Bowden’s poor shooting, he was aggressive in seeking out his shot. That’s a positive sign for Tennessee coaches, as the Vols will need the Knoxville native down the stretch.
It was all about Turner and Daniel on Saturday, though. In the first half, Tennessee struggled to get anything going over the first 10 minutes of play. That is, until Daniel checked in and sparked the Vols.
On his way to 14 first half points on 5-of-6 shooting, Daniel drilled a couple of three-point shots and knocked down a contested and-one. Daniel’s efforts contributed to a 16-2 run to end the half for the Vols, that eventually grew into a 32-7 run as the Vols took a commanding lead.
Turner on the other hand, scored a team-high 20 points on a career-high six made three-pointers. In the second half alone, the sophomore was 5-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 from three.
It bodes well for the team’s long-term success if Tennessee can continue to get production from its guards going forward.
Tennessee out-works Iowa State.
The Vols offense was atrocious over the first ten minutes of the first half. In those ten minutes, Tennessee went on two separate scoreless droughts of at least three minutes. The Vols never trailed by more than seven but were shooting just 13 percent to start the game.
Despite the shooting woes, Tennessee kept the game intact by out-working Iowa State in all of the hustle stats.
At the half, Tennessee was out-rebounding Iowa State 29-8, out-scoring the Cyclones in both second-chance points (15-2) and bench points (20-2). Tennessee’s hustle made a difference in the game, as it allowed a cushion while the offense found a rhythm.
Vols pass another tough road test as defense steps up.
There’s no more debate. The No. 22 Volunteers are a very, very good basketball team.
Hilton Coliseum is no easy place to win. Before Saturday’s game, Iowa State had sold out 34 of its last 45 games. In head coach Steve Prohm’s short tenure, the Cyclones are 33-8 at home. The Vols can now claim a road win in one of the toughest environments in college basketball along with wins at Clemson, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
With the win, Tennessee is now one of just four teams ranked in the top 30 in offensive and defensive efficiency. According to Ken Pom, the Vols are the ninth-best team in the country in terms of RPI.
It’s no longer about playing to get into the tournament. The Vols are now playing for an SEC title and for higher-seeding come March.
Edited by Seth Raborn
Feature image courtesy of Tennessee Athletics