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Tennessee Vols Basketball falls 59-55 at Missouri Tigers

 

Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsColumbia, MO – The 21st-ranked Tennessee Volunteers never found a rhythm offensively on Wednesday night in Mizzou Arena, falling to Missouri, 59-55.
 
After back-to-back threes by the Tigers, the Vols (12-5, 3-3 SEC) faced a 10-point deficit with 6:43 remaining. UT would fight back to make it a one-point game with 1:33 left in the game.
 
After a stop on defense, Tennessee had a chance to take the lead, but a turnover in the paint with less than a minute to play gave the Tigers the ball back to run the clock down. The Volunteers were forced to foul with 14.4 seconds left. Junior guard Jordan Geist knocked down both free throws to make it a 3-point game.

Tennessee Volunteers forward Kyle Alexander (11) shoots as Missouri Tigers forward Kevin Puryear (24) and forward Jontay Porter (11) defend during the second half at Mizzou Arena. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

Tennessee Volunteers forward Kyle Alexander (11) shoots as Missouri Tigers forward Kevin Puryear (24) and forward Jontay Porter (11) defend during the second half at Mizzou Arena. (Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)

On the ensuing trip down the floor, Mizzou fouled James Daniel III with 4.4 seconds left, converting on just one of the attempts. Tennessee was forced to foul after the second attempt, and Missouri forward Kevin Puryear drained both attempts to seal the game.
 
The Vols were led by Grant Williams, who finished with 15 points, five boards and a pair of steals in 35 minutes of action. Kyle Alexander posted 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three blocks. Admiral Schofield chipped 11 points as well to round out UT’s double-digit scorers on the night.
 
Missouri (13-5, 3-2 SEC) was locked in to begin the second half, going on a 7-0 run over the first four and a half minutes of play to take a 34-27 lead. The Vols responded with a 9-2 run of their own to tie things up at 36-36.
 
Tennessee struggled early on in the game, never finding a consistent flow on offense. The Vols shot 34 percent (11-of-32) from the field in the first half compared to Mizzou’s 45 percent (10-of-22). Schofield led the way for UT in the half with seven points, two boards and two steals.
 
Despite the sluggish shooting, the Volunteers never trailed in the period because of strong on-ball defense, tallying six steals in the frame. Missouri would heat up on offense to end the half, though, knocking down seven of its final 11 shots to tie things at 27-27 going into halftime. The score marked Tennessee’s lowest point total in a half this season.

Lockdown Defense

Despite the outcome, Tennessee’s defense in the final minutes of the game gave it a chance to win the ball game. After going down by 10 with 6:43 remaining, the Vols didn’t surrender another field goal for the remainder of the contest.

Next Up for UT Men’s Basketball

The Vols head to the other Columbia in the SEC to take on Frank Martin and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Colonial Life Arena on January 20th, 2018 at 5:00pm CT (SEC Network). UT then returns home for its second meeting with the Vanderbilt Commodores on January 23rd at 6:00pm CT.


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