Ole Miss hammers injury-riddled Vols on Senior Day

Tennessee hobbled to the finish line of a disappointing regular season with another loss on Senior Day.

Tennessee's men's basketball team fell to Arkansas for the second time this season on Saturday // Photo by Sam Forman

Tennessee's men's basketball team fell to Arkansas for the second time this season on Saturday // Photo by Sam Forman

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In their final home game of the season, the Vols shot just 38 percent in a loss to Ole Miss, 83-60.

It was an emotionally-fueled pregame complete with a student protest by the UT Diversity Matters group. However, the Vols struggled to use that emotion to get going in the first half. During one stretch, they missed 15 consecutive shots over a 14-minute span.

“That’s the tough thing about Senior Day if you don’t have a mature team, they can lose focus,” said UT head coach Rick Barnes.

Tennessee kept Ole Miss All-SEC guard Stefan Moody in check during the first half, holding him to zero points and two fouls. However, Moody had 12 in the second half, including three baskets from behind the arc.

Additionally the Vols had no answer for the Rebels’ forward Sebastian Saiz. The 6-foot-9 junior logged 23 points, his highest total in SEC play, and 10 rebounds.

In the paint, Ole Miss hammered the Vols, tallying 21 offensive rebounds on 33 missed shots.

Seniors Devon Baulkman and Armani Moore tallied just over half of Tennessee’s points (31) in their final game in Thompson-Boling Arena, but with Kevin Punter and Robert Hubbs III missing time, the Vols just did not have a potent enough offense.

“With Hubbs and [Kevin Punter] not being healthy, we’ve got 35 points on the sidelines,” said Barnes. “It’s amazing how losing one player can hurt your team, confidence wise.”

Admiral Schofield was the only other Vol who scored in double figures, with 12 points with six rebounds.

Tennessee will try to rebound from the defeat when it travels to Nashville to play in the SEC Tournament next week. The Vols will take on Auburn on Wednesday night for a chance to move on to play the No. 5 seed on Thursday.

Featured image by Sam Forman

Edited by Cody McClure

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Dominic is in his second year writing on staff at TNJN. Along with being a staff writer, he also covers the UT men's basketball beat. He is currently a senior at the University of Tennessee majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media. Follow him @dominiclobianco on Twitter!