May 25, 2024

Vanderbilt all but bursts Tennessee’s bubble, beats Vols in Knoxville

Vanderbilt led wire-to-wire on Wednesday night and put the Vols’ NCAA Tournament hopes on life support.

Photo by Brad Blackwelder

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee freshman guard #0 Jordan Bone brings the ball upcourt to direct the offense during the Vols' game against Missouri on Feb. 18, 2017, in Thompson-Boling Arena.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes was more than perplexed after Vanderbilt led from start to finish in a 67-56 win in Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday night.

“When the lights came on, we didn’t compete,” Barnes said after the loss.

The Vols came out of the gates slow, allowing the Commodores to jump out to an 18-4 lead over the first nine minutes of the game. In the first half, Tennessee shot 23.1 percent on 6-of-26 shooting missed all seven 3-point attempts. Although the Vols narrowed the game in the second half, Tennessee managed just 29 percent shooting for the game, the lowest of the season.

“I’m baffled and frustrated by it,” Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said of the slow start. “We didn’t play hard.”

The 56-point total was also a season low from the Vols. It was the lowest point total for a Tennessee team in Barnes’ two years in Knoxville.

Led by sophomore Admiral Schofield’s eight first-half points, the Vols cut the Vandy lead to 28-18 at halftime with a run right before the break.

However, the Vols’ hovered around a four-to-five point deficit for most of the second half. The Commodore lead was cut to one following a Grant Williams free throw with just over six minutes remaining in the game, but that would be the closest Tennessee would get. Vanderbilt closed out the win with a 23-13 run.

Senior guard Robert Hubbs III led Tennessee with a game-high 16 points. Hubbs became the 48th Volunteer to score 1,000 points in his career when he knocked down a free-throw with 8:22 remaining in the game.

Vol freshman Grant Williams recorded his second double-double of the season, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Seven of Williams’ rebounds came on the offensive glass. Schofield added 11 points and six rebounds. Freshman Kwe Parker provided a much needed spark off the bench defensively.

Parker played in more spots where fellow freshman Jordan Bone had been in past games. Barnes only had three words to describe why Parker saw more playing time: “Effort. Intensity. Competing.”

Vanderbilt was led by Jeff Roberson, who had 15 points on 5-of-10 shooting from the floor. Nolan Cressler added 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from the 3-point line.

Tennessee travels to Columbia, South Carolina next. The Vols face the Gamecocks at 1 p.m. ET this Saturday on the SEC Network.

Edited by Nathan Odom

Featured image by Brad Blackwelder

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