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Tennessee Vols Basketball plays Saint Joseph’s at Thompson-Boling Arena, Monday night

 

#10 Tennessee (4-0) vs. Saint Joseph’s (0-4)

Monday, December 21st, 2020 | 5:01pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: SEC Network

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN #10 Tennessee basketball returns to action for a Monday night home matchup with Saint Joseph’s. Tipoff from Thompson-Boling Arena is slated for 5:00pm CT on SEC Network.

Fans can catch Monday’s game on SEC Network and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Roy Philpott and VFL Dane Bradshaw will have the call.

Fans can also listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertlekamp describing the action.

#10 Tennessee Men's Basketball to face Saint Joseph's in Monday night matchup at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)

#10 Tennessee Men’s Basketball to face Saint Joseph’s in Monday night matchup at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)

Last time out, the Vols steamrolled Tennessee Tech to the tune of a 103-49 scoreline.

The win was the eighth-largest margin of victory in program history and the Vols 103 points are the most the program has scored since January 15th, 2019 against Arkansas.

A victory on Monday would even UT’s all-time series with St. Joe’s at two wins apiece. A win would also improve the Vols record to 28-14 against current members of the Atlantic-10 conference.

The Series

Tennessee trails its all-time series with Saint Joseph’s 1-2, dating to 1948.

The Hawks defeated the Volunteers in Philadelphia in 1948 and 1998, and Tennessee won the lone meeting in Knoxville in 1997.

Tennessee owns a 27-14 record against current members of the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Vols head coach Rick Barnes is 1-0 in his career against Saint Joseph’s and 12-8 as a head coach against A10 opposition.

Since debuting in December 1955, the Saint Joseph’s Hawk mascot famously flaps its wings non-stop throughout every SJU basketball game.

ESPN once used a “flap-o-meter” during a broadcast of a Saint Joseph’s game to estimate that the Hawk flaps its wings 3,500 times during a regulation game.

The Hawk travels to every game, and the student who holds the position is placed on a full scholarship.

Layup Lines

Tennessee has won 78 percent of its games as a ranked team during the Rick Barnes era (59-17).

Monday’s contest is the third of four UT games in a nine-day span.

Seniors John Fulkerson and Yves Pons were both named to the Wooden Award preseason top-50 watch list. Pons also earned a spot on the preseason watch list for the Naismith Trophy College Player of the Year.

Tennessee’s starting lineup this season has featured five left-handers. A survey of all Division I SIDs yielded no other teams that have started five southpaws this season.

Undefeated Tennessee has been extremely balanced offensively this season. Only once thus far has a Vol scored more than 20 points, as true freshman guard Jaden Springer had 21 off the bench in Friday’s win over Tennessee Tech.

Defense Wins

Tennessee ranks second in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 47.5 points per game.

According to KenPom, the Vols rank fourth nationally and first in the SEC in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 86.6 points per 100 possessions so far this season. College teams average close to 70 possessions per game.

The Vols are forcing 18.3 turnovers per game while converting those turnovers into 18.5 points per game. Tennessee’s turnover margin stands at +8.5 (ninth nationally).

Reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year Yves Pons has 78 blocks in his last 35 games.

Making three straight field goals against this Tennessee team has been a mighty task so far this season. No UT opponent has strung together more than five consecutive made attempts.

 


About Saint Joseph’s

Saint Joseph’s is seeking its first win of the season after an 0-4 start. Two-possession losses to Auburn (96-91) and Drexel (81-77) fall between two 20-plus point losses to Kansas (94-72) and Villanova (88-68). The Hawk’s most recent losses to Drexel and Villanova on Thursday and Saturday night, followed a 14-day stoppage of all team-related activities due to a positive COVID-19 case among the program’s personnel.

Through four games, St. Joe’s has received consistent production from senior Ryan Daly. Daly led the Atlantic 10 in scoring last year (21st nationally), pouring in 20.6 points per game and has continued to get buckets this season. Thus far, Daly is averaging 18.3 points per game and is active all over the floor, hauling in a team-leading 6.0 rebounds and dishing off 2.8 assists per game.

Heading into Monday’s matchup, Daly is just 311 points away from eclipsing 2,000 points in his college career.

After missing a majority of 2019-20 with injury, redshirt-junior forward Tyler Funk has brought a much-needed jolt to the Hawk’s frontcourt. Through four games, he ranks second on the team in scoring with 16.5 points per game, while leading the squad in rebounds (6.0 rpg) and blocks (1.5 bpg).

Second-year head coach Billy Lange dealt with a plethora of injuries in year No. 1, as St. Joe’s finished the season 6-26 and 2-16 in the A-10. Heading into year No. 2, Lange is relying on a mix of transfers, freshmen and a few seasoned returners to make a leap in the A-10.

Saint Joseph’s men’s basketball is known for its mascot, The Hawk, who continually flaps its wings through the duration of each game, representing the Saint Joseph’s motto, “The Hawk Will Never Die.”

 


Last Meeting With Saint Joseph’s

Andre Howard’s driving shot with four seconds remaining propelled Saint Joseph’s to a 55-53 win over Tennessee at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse in Philadelphia on December 10th, 1998.

That 1998-99 Tennessee squad went on to finish 21-9 (12-4 SEC), win the SEC Eastern Division title and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Howard’s game-winning shot came just after the Vols had tied the game, 53-53, on a layup by Isiah Victor. Tennessee All-SEC point guard Tony Harris’ 15-footer at the buzzer rimmed out as the Vols dropped their third game away from Thompson-Boling Arena.

Victor’s 11 points off the bench led the Vols. Charles Hathaway, who hit 5-of-7 from the field, added 10 points for Tennessee. C.J. Black blocked five shots for the Vols.

Tim Brown, a late addition to the Hawks’ starting lineup, led SJU with 15 points.

The Vols rallied after falling behind by as many as 12 points early in the second half.

Great Genes

Several current Vols are blessed with athletic genes from their parents.

Victor Bailey Jr.’s father was an NFL wide receiver, and his mother, Tonja Buford-Bailey, is an Olympic-medal-winning hurdler.

Josiah-Jordan James’ father, Kurt James, was a college teammate of Magic Johnson at Michigan State.

Keon Johnson’s mother, Conswella Johnson (then Conswella Sparrow) was a two-time All-SEC basketball player at Auburn.

 


 

Jaden Springer’s father, Gary Springer, starred at Iona before he was selected by the 76ers in the 1984 NBA Draft.

Drew Pember’s parents both were student-athletes at nearby Carson-Newman University. His mother, Allison, played volleyball for the Eagles, while his father, Donny Pember, played basketball.

Under Barnes Vols Are 59-17 As AP-Ranked Team

Tennessee has played 76 games as a ranked team (AP poll) under head coach Rick Barnes, and the Vols are 59-17 (.776) in those contests.

Tennessee Has Been A Mainstay in National Rankings

Tennessee has made 44 appearances in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll during the Rick Barnes era. The Vols are listed at No. 10 this week.

In 2018-19, for the first time in program history, the Volunteers spent the entire season—20 polls—in the AP top 10. Tennessee spent four straight weeks at No. 1 before finishing the year at No. 6.

Williams’ Word Prophetic

Before he developed from a three-star prospect to a two-time SEC Player of the Year, consensus first-team All-American and first-round NBA Draft pick after just three seasons at Tennessee—and don’t forget, he also graduated—Grant Williams had this to say while he was still a high school senior.

“We’re not coming in just to be that foundation. We’re coming in to start something and create something that’s going to last forever. We want to be that huge burst that comes to Tennessee. I think we’re national championship contenders in a few years.”

As a rookie with the Boston Celtics last season, Williams played meaningful playoff minutes into the Eastern Conference finals.

Next Up for Tennessee Men’s Basketball

Tennessee Vols Basketball closes out its busy stretch of games with a Wednesday night, December 23rd contest against USC Upstate. Tipoff from Thompson-Boling Arena is slated for 4:00pm CT on SEC Network.


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