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Tennessee Vols Basketball beats Kansas State 70-58

 

Tennessee Athletics Department

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN A trio of double-digit scorers led Tennessee to a 70-58 win over Kansas State at Thompson-Boling Arena on Saturday afternoon in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge Presented by Sonic.

The Vols (12-9, 4-4 SEC) finished their three-game homestand with a perfect record following the wire-to-wire win over the Wildcats (15-6, 4-4 Big 12). UT crashed the boards all game long, out-rebounding Kansas State, 43-29. Kyle Alexander led the way with nine boards to go along with eight points.

Grant Williams posted another strong performance, totaling 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting, six rebounds and two assists on the day. Jordan Bowden and Robert Hubbs III were the other Volunteers to eclipse double-digit points, scoring 13 and 10, respectively.

Forward Grant Williams #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. (Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics)

Forward Grant Williams #2 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Tennessee Volunteers at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, TN. (Craig Bisacre/Tennessee Athletics)

Leading the way for the Wildcats on the day was Barry Brown. Brown led K-State in points with 17.

Brown was 3 of 7 from beyond the arc in 34 minutes for the Cats. The Wildcats also boasted two other players scoring in double digits, with Wesley Iwundu scoring 14 points and Kamau Stokes scoring 11.

KSU came out firing in the second half, hitting five of their first six from beyond the arc, after not hitting a single 3-pointer before intermission. Despite eight points by Williams to begin the period, the Wildcats cut Tennessee’s lead to 10 with 11:39 remaining the game.

The Vols’ lead was insurmountable, though, as Kansas State never pulled closer than nine points in the second half.

With five minutes left in the game, Lamonte Turner drove to the paint and dished it off to Lew Evans for the slam to make it a 64-50 advantage to ice the win. The dunk energized the crowd of 14,398 fans and forced the Wildcats to use their final timeout.

The Vols jumped out to an early lead to open the game, going on a 10-3 run over the Wildcats. Alexander was active on the glass, grabbing four boards in the opening four minutes of the game, including three on the offensive end. A pass from Williams at the top of the key to Bowden in the paint capped the run and forced Kansas State to call a timeout.

After a five-minute scoring drought during the middle of the half by the Wildcats, UT used a 13-2 run to take a 39-22 lead into intermission. The Volunteer defense forced seven turnovers in the opening stanza and gave up a season-low 22 points.

Bowden, who dropped 10 points behind a pair of 3-pointers, fueled Tennessee’s offense to the 17-point lead.

Second Chance

The Vols grabbed 16 offensive rebounds during the game, which they converted into season-high 23 second-chance points. Kyle Alexander grabbed five offensive boards to lead the charge on the offensive glass for UT.

Vols Rise To Occasion Against Coaching Greats

Over the last three games, the Vols were victorious over a trio of coaching legends: John Calipari (Kentucky), Ben Howland (Mississippi State), and Bruce Weber (Kansas State). Coming into the day, they have combined for 1,512 total wins, 37 NCAA tournament appearances, and 10 Final Fours trips.

Williams Over Three-Game Winning Streak

During Tennessee’s three game homestand, the Vols were led by freshman forward Grant Williams. Through the stretch, Williams averaged 15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, while shooting nearly 58 percent from the field.

What This Win Means

The Vols wrapped up a three-game homestand with the win over Kansas State, which also included wins over Mississippi State and No. 4 Kentucky. The win over the KSU improved UT’s record to 2-1 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, with the other win coming against the Wildcats on December 6th, 2014.

Today’s 70-58 victory extended Tennessee’s active home-winning streak against non-conference opponents to six games. Tennessee also improves to an 8-3 record at Thompson-Boling Arena on the season.

Up Next for UT Vols

After finishing up its three-game homestand, Tennessee will spend the entirety of next week on the road, visiting Auburn and Mississippi State. The Vols take on the Tigers at 8:00pm CT on Tuesday night and will be televised on SEC Network.

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