June 23, 2024

Hubbs, Vols roll to 91-74 win over Mississippi State

Tennessee muscled its way to a much-needed 91-74 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.

KNOXVILLE, TN - JANUARY 21, 2017 - Guard Jordan Bone #0 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Hayley Pennesi/Tennessee Athletics

After a dispiriting road loss to Ole Miss, Tennessee basketball needed a win.

With a dominant 91-74 victory at home over the Mississippi State Bulldogs, it got just that.

Robert Hubbs led the way for both teams with 19 points, but the team got production from a number of players: Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bowden all scored in double figures with 17, 15 and 14, respectively.

“I thought we got out in the open court and got the ball down the court,” head coach Rick Barnes said. He also praised the team’s passing after they had 20 assists on 31 made shots. “We’re a much better team when the ball doesn’t stick,” he said. “I don’t think we’re a very good team late in the shot clock.”

Rebounding was the story of the night for the Volunteers. Barnes has preached the importance of rebounding all season long, and tonight it was clear why. Neither team was able to shoot 40 percent in the first half, but Tennessee’s 24 boards were enough to help them take a 37-34 lead into the break. Sophomore big man Kyle Alexander led the way with three of the home team’s 12 offensive rebounds in the first 20 minutes.

The Vols not only continued their dominance on the boards, but they shot much better in the second half. The team finished with 49 rebounds (19 offensive) compared to Mississippi State’s 35. For one of the nation’s smaller teams, it was a major victory.

“Size doesn’t affect them very much,” Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland said. “They’re one of the shortest teams in the country, but they’re wide and athletic and they play so hard.”

Both head coaches had nice things to say about Tennessee’s leading rebounder, Lew Evans. Howland said he thought Evans had a great game with nine rebounds, and Barnes complimented the intangibles that he brings to the table. Schofield and Bowden each pitched in seven rebounds, while Jordan Bone had six.

Tennessee takes the court again on Tuesday when they play host to the fifth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

Edited by David Bradford

Featured image by Hayley Pennesi, courtesy of Tennessee Athletics

Quinn is an assistant sports editor for TNJN and a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Electronic Media at the University of Tennesse. When he's not writing, he's probably doing something else. You can follow him on Twitter (@QuinnNotCook) or e-mail him at qpilkey@vols.utk.edu.