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IT's Take: Vols drop heartbreaker

If Tennessee fans needed to see hope in the future of their basketball program they saw it today against a preseason top 5 team, Oregon. The Vols took the No. 1 NCAA tourney seed from a year ago into overtime before eventually falling 69-65.

Playing their second straight game against a preseason top 10 team, Tennessee showed there are plenty of reasons to point to when looking for hope in the future in a 69-65 overtime loss to Oregon in the Maui Jim Invitational.

Tuesday's stars were Detrick Mostella and freshman John Fulkerson. Mostella scored a game-high 22 points before fouling out in regulation. Mostella also just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. Fulkerson recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds while adding five blocks.

Offense: Just one day after taking great care of the basketball with just 10 turnovers against Wisconsin, the Vols committed 24. There was a nine-minute stretch to start the second half where the Vols fell behind by 11 points and committed 10 turnovers. The Vols shot just 37 percent from the field and only 23 percent from 3-point range. With only nine assists, the offense struggled. The Vols missed injured Jordan Bone on the offensive side of the ball.

Defense: The defense was stellar holding the Ducks to only 34 percent from the floor and forcing 20 turnovers. For the second straight game Barnes did a masterful job of changing up defenses and the Vols bothered the nationally-ranked Ducks all day long with their effort. Fulkerson's five blocks gave the Vols a lift energy-wise. There was a stretch of over nine minutes late in the game where the Vols did not give up a made field goal.The only thing keeping me from giving the Vols an "A" is they were guilty of committing 29 personal fouls, sending the Ducks to the line 38 times. Tennessee got outscored at the charity stripe by 10 points. Improvements must take place on playing defense without fouling going forward but it is hard to fault the effort. 

Rebounding: I am not sure the Vols can rebound any better than they did against the Ducks. The effort was astounding as they won the battle on the boards 42 to the Ducks' 32. The Volunteers also had 12 offensive rebounds to Oregon's eight. Once again Fulkerson was the star here with 10 boards while Mostella recorded nine. Robert Hubbs III didn't have his best game from a scoring perspective but his seven boards were key. If they can continue this kind of rebounding they are going to finish vastly ahead of where they were picked in the SEC before the season.

Grades

Offense: C-

Defense: A-

Rebounding: A+


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