The Tennessee Vols faltered mightily as they blew a 41-23 lead on the road failing to win their sixth straight game. Tennessee only scored nine points in the last 10:05 minutes of the game. The Vols leading scorer on the season in Robert Hubb III was held to only four points and the Big Orange allowed the game to slip away as they couldn't keep the Bulldogs off the offensive glass.
The Vols weren't able to overcome a poor shooting game at the free throw line as they only made 10 of 22 from the charity stripe.
The Vols fall to 13-10 overall and 5-5 in the SEC but even with the loss the Vols still hold a realtimerpi in the upper 30s and head home for a big match up with a hot Ole Miss Rebel team on Tuesday.
Offense: The Big Orange jumped out to a quick start and played like a well oiled machine on offense early jumping out to a 29-10 first half lead. The Vols had a balanced scoring attack in the opening stanza. Tennessee stretched the halftime lead to 41-23 but Mississippi State picked up the intensity outscoring the Vols 41-18 in the last 17:50 of the game. Jordan Bone led the Vols with 13 points but took 15 shots. Grant Williams followed with 11. Rick Barnes saw his team shoot 39 percent from the floor and commit 14 turnovers.
Defense: The Big Orange wasted a great performance on defense. Mississippi State shot just 31 percent from the floor and defended the first shot of the Bulldogs well. Rick Barnes continues to game plan well limiting the oppositions leading scorers game after game. State's leading scorer, Quinndary Weatherspoon, came into the game as the SEC's third leading scorer and scored only seven points making only three shots in 18 attempts. The effort on defense was plenty good enough to win.
Rebounding: As good as the Vols have been in the past month in this department they were equally bad in this game. Tennessee was destroyed on the glass 55-45 and 21-9 on the offensive end. When a team's point guard leads a team in rebounding that isn't a good sign. Bone led the Vols with eight rebounds. State repeatedly crashed the glass in the final minute clinging to a one point lead and finally got a put back to go to increase the lead to three. The host recorded three different offensive boards on that one critical possession. This was an area Tennessee had been beating up on teams in, but they got punched in the jaw in this game and did not respond. The game was lost in this area.