Knoxville, TN – Earning its seventh-consecutive SEC win and 13th in a row at Thompson-Boling Arena, the No. 19/18 Tennessee men’s basketball team defeated Vanderbilt, 73-64, Saturday evening.
Tennessee (18-6, 9-3 SEC) got meaningful contributions from all 11 players who saw the floor, each scoring for the Big Orange, and held off a ferocious second-half rally from Vanderbilt (13-11, 5-7 SEC) to close out the victory.
The Vols had four players reach double figures as Zakai Zeigler notched a team-high 16 points, Josiah-Jordan James tallied 14, John Fulkerson had 12 and Santiago Vescovi totalled 10.
James posted his second double-double of the season, pulling down 10 rebounds in addition to his 14 points. The junior guard was strong from the charity stripe, connecting on 9-of-10 from the line.
Thompson-Boling Arena was rocking, with 20,019 filling the stands of the arena. Vol Nation supplied the energy needed to finish out the game, exploding after UT halted Vandy’s run in the second half.
The Tennessee faithful have packed over 20,000 fans inside TBA for the fourth time this season and have played a critical role in Tennessee’s undefeated home record in the 2021-22 season.
Tennessee put together a strong first half on both ends of the floor. The Big Orange used a 9-0 run spanning 3:43 in the backend of the period to gain a 13-point advantage. The Volunteer offense made an impact with physical play on the boards, outrebounding the Commodores, 20-15, in the half.
Tennessee got to the line 19 times, sinking 14 from the stripe in the first. In total, 10 Vols scored, with four scoring seven or more points, contributing to a 44-32 lead going into the break.
Vanderbilt came out firing in the second period, sinking 5-of-7 from beyond the arc in the first five minutes of the quarter. The Commodores brought it to within two, 61-59, but James sank a pair of free throws and Kennedy Chandler found his offense, connecting on three baskets in a row to distance the Vols.
The 8-0 run, lasting two minutes in the final five minutes of the game, pushed the Vols back out in front with some breathing room and they never looked back.
Zeigler On A Roll
After Saturday’s 16-point effort, SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Zakai Zeigler is now averaging 13.7 points per game over the course of his last six games and has scored in double figures during nine of Tennessee’s 12 SEC games.
Protecting Home Court
With Saturday’s win, Tennessee improved to 13-0 at home this season. Dating to last season, the Vols have won 14 straight inside Thompson-Boling Arena.
Next Up For UT Men’s Basketball
The Tennessee men’s basketball team welcomes No. 5 Kentucky to Rocky Top on Tuesday, February 15th at 9:00pm in front of a sold-out crowd. The game will be broadcast on ESPN in the networks Super Tuesday spotlight.
Vanderbilt 64, Tennessee 73