June 12, 2024

Kareem Canty-less Auburn no challenge for Vols

Without its best player, Auburn was no match for Tennessee on Tuesday night.

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It was below freezing outside of Thompson-Boling Arena, but many would argue that it was colder on the court. Both Tennessee and Auburn combined for only seven made field goals in the first 10 minutes of action on Tuesday night.

Both squads looked incredibly sloppy through the first half. Auburn didn’t even score until over six minutes in.

Devon Baulkman started off the game with a quick five points, but then failed to convert on his next five shots, so Tennessee coach Rick Barnes took to his bench to ignite the Vols. Robert Hubbs III came in to give Tennessee a quick 10 points, which helped secure a 34-23 halftime lead.

More than half of Tennessee’s first half points came from the reserves, as Tennessee’s usually-dependable leading scorer, Kevin Punter, struggled with only two first half points on 1-of-5 shooting.

Auburn only managed to shoot 26 percent from the field in the first half and looked lost without its leading scorer, Kareem Canty, who was serving a suspension. Bryce Brown stepped in to lead the Tigers in scoring with nine points on 3-of-6 shooting.

The halftime break served the Vols well. They came out looking more composed on both sides of the floor and it took only four minutes for them to secure a 17-point lead, their largest of the game.

Baulkman started off the second half with a couple quick buckets just like he did in the first half and Hubbs III carried the Vols the rest of the way to a 71-45 blowout victory over Bruce Pearl’s Tigers.

Hubbs had a breakout game with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting.

“I just let the game come to me,” he said.

“Tonight was the first time I hit a three since early December, so that really helped a lot. After that, I just fed off that.”

Baulkman also chipped in with 14 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 4-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Tennessee’s 42 bench points came just three points away from outscoring Auburn as a whole.

Auburn shot an even worse 21 percent in the second half and couldn’t get anything going. Brown led the Tigers with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting.

Tennessee travels to Missouri on Saturday to take on the Tigers. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

Featured image by Ben Ozburn

Edited by Cody McClure

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