Lawrence, KS – Despite a career-high 24 points from junior Yves Pons and a third double-double in five games from junior John Fulkerson, solid late free-throw shooting led third-ranked Kansas past the Tennessee Vols basketball team, 74-68, Saturday at historic Allen Fieldhouse.
The matchup was part of the 2020 Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Vols fell to 12-7 on the year, while Kansas improved its record to 16-3.
Pons’s 24 points were the most points scored by a Vol in UT’s all-time series with Kansas. He finished the afternoon 8-of-14 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free-throw line.
Fulkerson’s 12 rebounds were both a career-high and the most-ever by a Tennessee player against Kansas. He added 15 points to his ledger to finish with a double-double.
Tennessee Vols senior Jordan Bowden also had an effective evening for the Vols, scoring 19 points—all after halftime—to lead UT’s second-half charge.
Freshman Santiago Vescovi added nine points, five rebounds, three assists and no turnovers.
A slow start for both squads through the opening 10 minutes saw the Jayhawks build an early 11-9 advantage despite the teams combining for a 36-percent shooting mark from the field (9-of-25).
Over the next two minutes, the Vols broke open a 12-2 run, knocking down four consecutive field goals—spearheaded by two 3-point baskets from Pons—to take a 20-13 lead with 8:02 remaining in the opening half.
The Jayhawks responded, outscoring UT 13-6 over the next four minutes to knot the score at 26-26.
In the closing minutes of the opening frame, Kansas established its largest lead of the afternoon, holding a 37-30 advantage as the teams headed into the locker room.
Out of the break, an evenly matched start to the second half saw Kansas hold on to its seven-point advantage as both squads went bucket-for-bucket to increase the score line to 49-42, in favor of the Jayhawks at the under-16 media timeout.
In the game’s final minutes, the Vols fought incredibly hard, knocking KU’s lead to as few as three points. However, solid free-throw shooting from Kansas cemented the outcome.
Yves Pons finished the contest with three blocks, marking his 19th consecutive game with at least one block and his 12th-game of the season with at least three.
John Fulkerson’s 15 points and 12 rebounds marked his third double-double in five games. Fulkerson is averaging 8.8 rebounds over the last five contests for the Vols.
Next Up For Tennessee Vols Basketball
The Tennessee Vols basketball team returns home to take on Texas A&M inside Thompson-Boling Arena Tuesday night. Tipoff is set for 5:30pm CT on SEC Network.