Vols struggle from field, fall to last-place Missouri 75-64

Tennessee’s up-and-down season continues after a 75-64 loss to the SEC’s last-place team, Missouri.

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Coming off a win over Auburn, Tennessee (12-13, 5-7 SEC)  traveled to Missouri (9-16, 2-10 SEC) in its first of two consecutive road games on Saturday.

The Vols struggled to hit shots early, and a late-game push came a little too late in a 75-64 loss to the Tigers. With the win, Missouri snapped a nine-game losing streak.

Kevin Punter led the Vols with 21 points, but once again struggled early on, going 1-of-5 in the first half. Devon Baulkman added 17, while freshman Shembari Phillips scored 10.

Shots just would not fall for Tennessee. The Vols hit only 21 of their 55 shots, good for a measly 38 percent on the day.

“We’re the kind of team that can’t be relying on two or three guys every night,” said head coach Rick Barnes.

“We just don’t have enough of that competitive spirit on the road.”

UT also had a rare bad day at the free throw stripe, shooting 58 percent. The Vols came into the game leading the SEC in free-throw shooting at 74.5 percent.

Missouri got off to a good start, taking a 23-13 lead midway through the first half. The Tigers then turned the ball over on five consecutive possessions, allowing the Vols to cut the lead to four.

However, the Tigers did not allow Tennessee to take over the game, closing out the half with a 38-27 lead.

The beginning of the second half was similar to the end of the first half.

Missouri racked up five fouls in just over three minutes of play, but the Vols were unable to take advantage of that opportunity. Tennessee again struggled on both sides of the ball throughout the second half.

The Vols made a late push, once cutting the gap to five at 65-60, but Missouri closed out the game with free throws in the final minutes.

Tennessee moves on to Lexington next Thursday, where it will face No. 22 Kentucky on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET.

Featured image by Ben Ozburn

Edited by Cody McClure

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