The Tennessee Vols survived a late second-half flurry by Tennessee Tech for a 74-68 home win.
The Vols (5-4) played near flawlessly, jumping out to a commanding lead of 22 points early in the second half but saw that advantage slowly close to just four points in the final minute of the game. The Big Orange was led by senior Robert Hubbs III with a game-high 25 points. Lamonté Turner finished with five 3-pointers on nine attempts, totaling 15 points.
Offense: It was a tale of two halves for the Vols. The first stanza was nearly mistake-free as the home team only committed one turnover and led 43-25 at the break. Turner made all four of his first-half attempts from downtown and it appeared the Vols would cruise to an easy victory.
In the second half the offense struggled valuing the basketball. Rick Barnes was disappointed to see his team commit 13 turnovers after racing out to a 22-point lead. Turner and Shembari Phillips committed five of those. Barnes has said those two are more suited to play the two guard and that has become apparent in the second half of both of the last two games.
Freshman point guard Joordan Bone getting back on the floor is sure to help this team.
Tennessee did not get much production from its post players and Barnes adjusted by playing a smaller lineup with Hubbs playing primarly the four position. Overall this was an effort on offense that will not make Barnes happy.
Defense: Much like was said about the offensive performance, the defense was exceptional in the first half and not so much afterward. The visitors started out 1-of-10 from the field but finished the game 24 for 47 (51 percent). At times, the Big Orange for the second straight game had a tough time stopping dribble penetration and it allowed the Eagles to get some easy baskets during thier comeback. Also for the second straight game the Vols were unable to force many turnovers as Tennessee Tech only committed 12. Grant Williams once again led the team with three blocked shots, which is proving to a skill many did not see coming for the undersized post player who stands at 6-feet-5.
Rebounding: Without a solid rebounding effort the Vols might have lost this game. The Vols won the overall battle 39-31 and limited the visitors to seven offensive rebounds. Tennessee recorded 11 offensive boarts itself.
Detrick Mostella is sure not to make many list of top performers from this victory, but his six rebounds in 18 minutes were big. Hubbs also isn't traditionally a strong rebounder but with Barnes playing the smaller lineup his seven were much needed. Jordan Bowden was another strong contributor in that area with five. Williams(3), Kyle Alexander (2) Lew Evans (2) simply have to rebound the basketball better if this team is going win against stronger competition.