Tennessee's road woes mercifully came to an end Tuesday night, but it wasn't because of a win. The Vols are simply done playing regular season games away from Knoxville. Rick Barnes' squad fell for the 14th time on the road this season, this time to Vanderbilt, in an 86-69 loss. Let's take a look at some of the highlights:
1. Bright Spots
It wasn't all doom and gloom in the bad loss, and there are some really encouraging things to take from this performance. Shembari Phillips turned in his coming-out party of sorts, notching 23 points and flashing why he is destined to become the next great scorer for the Vols. The freshman finished 4-for-5 from behind the arc to lead Tennessee in shooting 54 percent from 3-point range. After the game, Barnes said Phillips is starting to "figure this thing out." Fellow freshman Admiral Schofield also turned in a nice night, scoring 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting.
2. Anchored Down
Barnes told reporters after the game that he would be mad if he were Vanderbilt's coach for not scoring at least 80 points in the paint because of how easily it was able to go over the top of Tennessee. The Commodores didn't get quite that many, but they did rack up 44 points inside to the Vols' 28. Damian Jones abused Tennessee in the paint for 14 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Barnes' small lineup had no match for him or anyone else.
Armani Moore battled a fever on Tuesday but recovered enough in time to play. The senior scored 13 points and three rebounds, looking quite unlike the versatile player Tennessee fans have come to expect this season. The sickness seemed to affect Moore, especially since he missed the pre-game shootaround, and was a bad break for a team that was already without leading scorer Kevin Punter (foot) and Robert Hubbs (knee).
4. Deep Trouble
The depth issues Tennessee has battled reared itself against Vanderbilt in the worst way. While the Commodores played 14 players in the win, Tennessee stuck with a nine-man rotation and was able to get virtually no production out of its bench. The Vols scored just 16 bench points in the game to Vandy's 62. This was just not a good matchup for Barnes' squad and it was exacerbated without Punter at the helm of the offense.