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HomeSports#16 Tennessee Vols Basketball plays Georgia at Thompson-Boling Arena, Wednesday

#16 Tennessee Vols Basketball plays Georgia at Thompson-Boling Arena, Wednesday

#16/#15 Tennessee (13-4 | 6-4 SEC) vs. Georgia (12-6 | 5-6 SEC)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 | 7:05pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena | TV: ESPN2

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – The 16th-ranked Tennessee basketball team returns home for a Wednesday night home encounter with the Georgia Bulldogs. Tipoff from Thompson-Boling is set for 7:00pm CT on ESPN2.

Fans can catch Wednesday’s game on ESPN2 and online or on any mobile device through WatchESPN. WatchESPN can be accessed through the ESPN App, or online at espn.com/watch. Tom Hart and Jimmy Dykes 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.

Tennessee Men's Basketball hosts Georgia Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)
Tennessee Men’s Basketball hosts Georgia Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. (UT Athletics)

Last time out, Tennessee downed Kentucky for the second consecutive time at Rupp Arena to the tune of an 82-71 score line.

The UT Vols were led by a season-high 27 points from reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, Keon Johnson.

Fellow freshman Jaden Springer added in 23 points of his own, meaning the UT freshman duo combined for 50 of the Vols’ 82 points on Saturday.

The win was also the Vols’ third in their last four tries at Rupp Arena, making head coach Rick Barnes the first coach to beat Kentucky three times in Lexington during the John Calipari era.

A victory on Wednesday would be Tennessee’s third consecutive over Georgia when the series is contested in Knoxville.

The Series

Tennessee leads the all-time series with Georgia, 96-61, dating to 1913. This is the 158th meeting overall and the only regular-season meeting set for the 2020-21 campaign.

The Bulldogs have dominated this series in recent years, winning seven of the last 10 meetings.

In last season’s lone meeting, No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Anthony Edwards scored a game-high 26 points to lead UGA to an 80-63 win in Athens.

The Vols hold a 59-15 edge when the series is contested in Knoxville and have won two straight over the Bulldogs on Rocky Top.

A Win Would

Extend Tennessee’s active home win streak over Georgia to three games.

Improve Tennessee’s record on Wednesdays to 4-0 this season.

Layup Lines

Tennessee was originally scheduled to host Florida Wednesday, but the Gators’ COVID-related pause led the SEC to make adjustments.

Tennessee is No. 10 in the latest NCAA NET ratings, with four wins over teams in the top 30.

Freshman wing Keon Johnson’s 27 points at Kentucky Saturday marked the highest scoring output by a Vol this season. He now leads the team in scoring during SEC play with 11.7 ppg and is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week.

Johnson and fellow freshman Jaden Springer (23 points) highlighted a four-guard lineup that helped UT erase a 10-point second-half deficit and win their second straight at Rupp Arena.

Since shifting to a bench role three games ago, sophomore Josiah-Jordan James is averaging 9.7 points and 9.0 rebounds.

Senior Yves Pons is a top-10 finalist for the Julius Erving Award and one of 15 candidates for Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Defense Wins

Tennessee ranks sixth in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 59.6 points per game.

According to KenPom, the Vols lead the NCAA in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing only 86.1 points per 100 possessions. College teams typically average close to 70 possessions per game.

The Vols are forcing 15.9 turnovers per game while converting those turnovers into 17.4 points per game. Tennessee’s turnover margin stands at +4.4 (10th nationally).

Tennessee has forced 13 of 17 opponents to turn the ball over on 20 percent or more of their possessions.

Tennessee has allowed only two opposing player to score 20 points all season.

Reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year Yves Pons has 101 blocks in his last 48 games (dating to the start of last season).


About the Georgia Bulldogs

After needing to largely overhaul the roster coming into the 2020-21 season following NBA departures by Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds, along with the graduation of its lone senior starter from last year in Jordan Harris, Georgia has experienced mixed results as we pass the midway point of the season.

After starting the year 7-0, the Bulldogs dropped six of their first eight SEC games. But UGA is currently riding a three-game win streak and sits at 12-6 overall and 5-6 in SEC play heading into Wednesday’s game.

Through 18 games, UGA has been led by sophomore guard Sahvir Wheeler, who leads the team in both scoring (13.6 ppg) and assists (7.4 apg). His 7.5 assists per game also lead the SEC by two assists per game over Vanderbilt’s Scotty Pippen Jr. Wheeler has logged double-digit assists on five different occasions this season.

In the frontcourt, forward Toumani Camara ranks second on the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game and leads the team and ranks seventh in the SEC in rebounding, with 7.2 boards per game. Camara, like Wheeler with assists, has eclipsed double-digit rebounds five times this season.

Off the bench, graduate student Andrew Garcia has been incredibly productive to help provide depth for UGA. Through 18 games, Garcia is the team’s third-leading scorer and rebounder with 10.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game, despite averaging just 17.8 minutes.

Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is one of the oldest public universities in the United States. It is also considered to be a “Public Ivy” school, or a public institution that offers a similar academic experience to an Ivy League university.


Tennessee Last Game Against Georgia

Two first-half runs and a hot-shooting touch from 3-point range in the opening half from Georgia were the difference on January 15th, 2020, as Tennessee team fell, 80-63, in Athens.

Senior Jordan Bowden paced the Vols in scoring, tallying 12 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field.

Freshman Josiah-Jordan James finished with 11 points, marking his fourth consecutive double-digit scoring output.

Junior Yves Pons was effective on the glass, pulling in a game-high eight rebounds while also adding eight points to the scoresheet.

The bright spot of the night for Tennessee was the debut of redshirt freshman transfer Uroš Plavši?, who had sat out the previous 15 games after the NCAA repeatedly denied his waiver for immediate eligibility. The Serbian 7-footer finished with five points and three rebounds off the bench.

Georgia came out of the gates quickly, taking an early 8-3 lead. The Vols responded with a 9-0 run, during which four different players scored to give UT a 12-8 advantage with just under 14 minutes remaining in the half.

Georgia took the punch and came back with a 12-3 run of its own, spearheaded by freshman Anthony Edwards and graduate transfer Donnell Gresham Jr., who tallied six points apiece.

Holding a 20-15 lead, the Bulldogs extended their advantage with two 3-point buckets from Rayshaun Hammonds and layups from freshman Sahvir Wheeler and Edwards to take a 32-19 lead with under eight minutes to play in the half.

Georgia closed the half on a 13-5 run to take a 47-28 lead into the locker room.

Out of the break, Georgia held steady. Despite multiple comeback efforts from the Vols, the Bulldogs never let their lead dip below 17 points for the remainder of the night.

Desmond Oliver Coached At Georgia

Sixth-year UT assistant coach Desmond Oliver was an assistant coach at UGA under Dennis Felton from 2004-09.

During Oliver’s tenure in Athens with Felton—who himself was once an assistant under Rick Barnes at Providence and Clemson from 1992-98—the Bulldogs made consecutive postseason appearances in 2007 (NIT) and 2008 (NCAA Tournament).

Oliver was on UGA’s staff during one of the most memorable conference tourney runs in recent history when Georgia won two games on the same day to capture the 2008 SEC Tournament championship.

Memorable Tennessee Vol Performances Against Georgia

Austin “Red” Robbins had what may have been the best performance in UT history at the time with 35 points and 20 rebounds on February 7th, 1966, as UT routed Georgia 100-71 at old Armory-Fieldhouse in Knoxville.

Bernard King made 18 field goals at Georgia on February 1st, 1975. King had 42 points and 18 rebounds in that 105-69 Vol victory.

The 12,666 paying customers who packed UT’s Stokely Athletics Center on Feb. 10, 1979, got their money’s worth, as Ellenwood, Georgia, native Reggie Johnson totaled 36 points and 13 rebounds, playing every minute of a three-overtime thriller as UT topped Georgia 87-81. Terry Crosby also played all 55 minutes, adding 21 points.

Future NBA Lottery Pick Marcus Haislip paced the Vols with 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Vincent Yarbrough added 17 points as UT outscored the 16th-ranked Dawgs 11-3 in overtime to take a 71-63 win in Knoxville on March 2nd, 2002.


Ray Mears Owned The Dawgs

Legendary Tennessee head coach Ray Mears was at his best against Georgia. Mears was 25-4 vs. UGA during his tenure on The Hill (1962-78).

Discovery In Lexington?

Necessity—foul trouble for John Fulkerson and a 10-point deficit midway through the second half—may have led to the discovery of a new wrinkle in Tennessee’s offensive arsenal during Saturday’s come-from-behind win at Kentucky.

Facing an uphill climb, Rick Barnes deployed a four-guard lineup featuring Santiago Vescovi, Jaden Springer, Keon Johnson, Josiah-Jordan James and Yves Pons.

That lineup outscored Kentucky 19-6 in the close to seven minutes it was on the floor.

Keon Johnson Playing Like A Phenom

Five-star freshman guard Keon Johnson is performing like one of the best defenders in the SEC early in his career as a Vol.

He leads the Vols in charges drawn (8) and ranks second in floor burns/diving efforts (8) and third in total steals (17). He also has seven blocks.

Johnson had an offensive coming-out party on February 6th at Kentucky when he erupted for a season-high 27 points in Tennessee’s comeback win.

He is now Tennessee’s leading scorer in SEC play, averaging 11.7 points per game. His 2.5 assists per game in SEC play rank second on the team.


Tracking Tennessee’ Defense

Tennessee has drawn 32 charges through 17 games this season.

The Vols also have forced five five-second calls and four shot-clock violations.

UT has won the turnover battle in 14 of its 17 games.

Next Up For Tennessee Men’s Basketball

The Tennessee men’s basketball team hits the road for a Saturday showdown at LSU. The opening tip from Baton Rouge is slated for 1:00pm CT on ESPN2.


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