Tennessee – 87
Mississippi State – 53
KNOXVILLE Tenn. – The Tennessee Volunteers hosted The Mississippi State Bulldogs Tuesday night for their SEC home opener. Both teams were 11-2 coming into the game and playing rock solid defense. Points were going to be at a premium in this one, or so you would think. Tennessee went 3 for 3 on their first three possessions with two three-pointers. It took until the 13:46 mark in the first half to score as Tennessee opened up a 16-3 lead. Tennessee’s leadership made its presence felt as Josiah-Jordan James checked in off the bench for his first action since December 7th, and Santiago Vescovi started 3-3 for 9 points and added two free throws to make his total 11 before the 10:00 mark. Zakai Zeigler finished out the last three minutes by assisting on two highlight reel dunks that you can see below and hitting Tennessee’s ninth three-pointer of the night. The Vols headed into the locker room with a 46-22 lead.
INJECT IT ALL RIGHT INTO OUR VEINS
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) January 4, 2023
The second half was more of the same domination from The Vols as ESPN broadcasters Tom Hart and former Vol, Dane Bradshaw, resorted to talking about best places to walk your dog in Knoxville and the SEC season outlook as a whole for Mississippi State. At the 11:40 mark Tennessee had extended its lead to 65-31. By the end of the game five Volunteers had scored in double figures as Tennessee took care of Mississippi State by a score of 87-53
This is what Tennessee Head Coach, Rick Barnes, had to say post-game on The Vol Network:
“We obviously played really well…defensively we were good…but overall, just a terrific effort by our guys.”
“We beat a really good team tonight.”
“I thought offensively…it was a good overall performance inside out…I thought we made some good passes, and our looks were good…but again overall we played good basketball tonight.”
On Josiah-Jordan James : “It was good to have him back he does a lot of good things…He looks the best he’s looked in a while and I thought he was locked in…it’s great to have him back”
Tennessee’s next game is against South Carolina on the road in Columbia at 2:30pm on Saturday.