Tennessee – 77
Vanderbilt – 68
KNOXVILLE Tenn. – It’s state rivalry time in Tennessee!
The Vols welcomed The Commodores to Knoxville as Tennessee hosted Vanderbilt looking to go 4-0 and stay perfect in conference play. Tennessee has been on fire lately, outscoring their last two opponents 172-95, and they also have a ten-game win streak over Vandy but, when it comes to rivalry games like this anything is possible. Withstanding the early offensive assault Tennessee manufactured in it’s last two games was going to be key for The Dores to make sure this one wasn’t over their heads before the first media timeout. It looked like that might be a moot point as Tennessee jumped out to a seven-point lead, but Vandy was not phased and battled back to a two-point game. Tennessee pushed the game right back out to a nine-point lead at the nine-minute mark. Once again Vanderbilt battled back with a late run and took the lead with a buzzer beating layup. Two of the biggest differences in the game were Vanderbilt’s five steals to Tennessee’s zero, and 36 of their 39 points coming from a bench that stepped up huge for Vandy. If their starters could find a rhythm in the second half, Vandy could find themselves in a very favorable situation. This was only the second time this season Tennessee had trailed at the half. It was going to be vital that they responded coming out of the locker room and regained the momentum.
The Vols responded in force, scoring the first nine points of the second half. They continued to wear Vanderbilt down as the game continued. In the first half the Tennessee defense would come and go but throughout the second the defense came back to full form, forcing Vandy into bad shot selection and long threes. Tennessee built up a 17-point lead at the 3:49 mark. The Commodores went on a 7-0 run with under 3:30 to go, but it was too little too late to outscore Tennessee’s 40 second half points compared to Vandy’s 29.
Liam Robbins led all scorers with 18 for Vanderbilt while Santiago Vescovi led Tennessee with 15. Robinson also led all players with seven rebounds and Vescovi had six leading The Vols. Zakai Zeigler led all players with nine assists.
This is what Tennessee Head Coach, Rick Barnes, had to say post-game via The Vol Report on Twitter:
Rick Barnes is here.
“Really proud of our team in the second half. I thought they played better and they had to. Everytime we play (Vanderbilt) it’s a grind.”
— VolReport.com | Tennessee Volunteers on Rivals (@TennesseeRivals) January 11, 2023
Tennessee’s next game is against Kentucky in Knoxville at 11:00am on Saturday.