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UT Vols come up short against George Washington, 73-70

 

UT Athletics Department

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsBrooklyn, NY – Down by as many as 15 points in the second half, the Vols had two chances to tie the game in the final 10 seconds, but were unable to connect in a tough 73-70 loss to George Washington at the Barclays Center Classic. Kevin Punter had a game-high 24 points while Devon Baulkman added 16 and Robert Hubbs III had 13 points.

The Colonials (6-0) advanced to the championship game, while the Vols (4-2) will turnaround and play in less than 13 hours against Nebraska at 12 Noon on Saturday.

Down 49-34 less than five minutes into the second half, Tennessee cut their deficit one point on a Baulkman 3-pointer with 1:55 left in regulation at 69-68.

George Washington Colonials guard Joe McDonald (22) takes a shots while Tennessee Volunteers guard Robert Hubbs III (3) defends at Barclays Center. George Washington won, 73-70. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

George Washington Colonials guard Joe McDonald (22) takes a shots while Tennessee Volunteers guard Robert Hubbs III (3) defends at Barclays Center. George Washington won, 73-70. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

Joe McDonald’s floater as the shot clock expired with 46 seconds left in regulation proved to be the decisive basket as he put the the Colonials up 73-68 lead.

Punter and Hubbs both had 3-point attempts in the final seconds, but neither dropped for the Vols, who battled valiantly.

The Colonials were led by Tyler Cavanaugh, who had 18 points and Kevin Larsen, who had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

George Washington closed the first half on a 22-6 run to take a 38-27 lead at halftime. The Vols opened strong building an 8-point lead at 19-11 on a Armani Moore layup with 11:16 left in the first half.

A Bronx native, Kevin Punter Jr. played in front a vocal contingent of friends and family at the Barclays Center on Friday night. The senior put together another strong offensive outing, scoring a game-high 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Punter had entered the contest as the third-leading scorer in the SEC at 21.8 ppg. He has scored a total of 74 points (24.7 ppg) over his last three ballgames. He finished with a game-high three steals and delivered a big steal-and-score in the midst of Tennessee’s late-game comeback.

Despite missing the bulk of the first half after being poked in the eye, guard Robert Hubbs III managed to reach double-digit scoring for the ninth time in his last 10 games, dating to last season. Hubbs scored the first seven points of the second half for Tennessee and finished with 13 points for the game. He is averaging 14.6 points per game over his last 10 games.

Devon Baulkman opened the Vols’ scoring with a three and hit another just prior to the 12-minute media timeout in the first half. That bucket marked the fourth consecutive game that he has hit multiple 3-pointers. Baulkman would add a third 3-pointer midway through in the second half and pulled Tennessee to within one with his fourth trey of the game at the 1:55 mark. The senior has now connected on 15 threes over his last four games — an average of 3.75 per game.

Next Up

The Vols will play the consolation game against Nebraska (4-2), which lost to #24 Cincinnati (6-0) in the first game of Friday’s action in Brooklyn. The Vols and Cornhuskers will tip at 12 Noon.

Tennessee trails the Huskers in the all-time series, 2-0. It will be the first meeting between the two sides since 2004 — a 62-61 Vols loss in Knoxville, TN.

Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes is 10-3 all-time against Nebraska, but has never faced current Huskers coach Tim Miles.


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