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#18 Tennessee Men’s Basketball scorches #15 Kansas, 80-61

 

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – A 53 percent shooting performance and a dominant rebounding effort pushed the 18th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers basketball team past No. 15 Kansas, 80-61, on Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena. The victory clinched this year’s SEC/Big 12 Challenge for the SEC, 5-4.

The Volunteers (12-3) ripped down 38 rebounds, out-rebounding the Jayhawks by 15 and holding Kansas (11-6) to zero second-chance points.

Tennessee was also lights out from both 3-point range (8 of 13) and the foul line (16 of 17).

Tennessee Men's Basketball freshman Jaden Springer had 13 points and four rebounds in win over Kansas Saturday night. (UT Athletics)

Tennessee Men’s Basketball freshman Jaden Springer had 13 points and four rebounds in win over Kansas Saturday night. (UT Athletics)

Naismith Defensive Player of the Year candidate Yves Pons dropped in a team-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while draining both of his attempts from 3-point range and pulling in five rebounds to help spark UT at multiple key moments.

Fellow senior John Fulkerson scored 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting, pulled down six rebounds and dished off three assists.

In his first start since returning from injury, Tennessee freshman Jaden Springer tallied 13 points, four rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Springer was also a perfect 7-of-7 from the charity stripe.

The Vols’ reliable stat-sheet stuffer, Josiah-Jordan James, totaled nine points while logging a game-high 11 rebounds, dishing out four assists and adding one block.

Off the bench, junior Victor Bailey Jr. scored 11 second-half points to help the Vols extend their lead after halftime. Bailey also finished the night with four assists, a pair of rebounds, and a steal.

Tennessee dominated for large stretches of the night’s opening 12 minutes, using a 12-4 run over a five-minute stretch to take a 21-12 lead with under eight minutes to play in the opening half.

The Vols continued to pour it on as the half concluded, stretching their lead to as many as 16 before taking a 40-26 advantage into the halftime break.

It was more of the same in the second half, as Tennessee stretched its lead to 21 in the frame’s first five minutes, knocking down six of nine shot attempts.

The remainder of the half was an abundance of riches for the Vols, who continued to knock down shots at an efficient clip while making stop after stop on the defensive side of the floor, walking away with the 19-point triumph.

Pons Performs vs. Jayhawks: After turning in the top-scoring performance by a Vol in UT’s all-time series with Kansas last season—totaling 24 points, seven rebounds, and three blocks during Tennessee’s loss at Allen Fieldhouse— Pons followed that performance with 17 massive points on Saturday, which ranks as the sixth-best scoring output for a Vol against the Jayhawks. In three career games against KU, Pons averages 11.0 points (33 total) and 4.3 rebounds (13 total).

 


NABC Suits and Sneakers Games are Good for the Vols: Tennessee went a perfect 2-0 this week during the NABC’s annual “Suits and Sneakers” week. The Vols are now 18-6 all-time in Suits vs. Sneakers games, dating to 2004. That includes an impressive 12-2 mark at home. This year’s kicks of choice for the Tennessee coaching staff were Nike black anthracite flyknit Air Force 1s.

Box Score

Kansas 61, Tennessee 80

  1 2 F
Kansas 26 35 61
Tennessee 40 40 80

Up Next For Tennessee Men’s Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team returns to action when it hits the road for the first time in nearly two weeks when it travels south to Oxford, Mississippi, to take on Ole Miss Tuesday night. Tipoff from The Pavilion is slated for 6:00pm CT on ESPN2.


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