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IT's Take: Vols overcome pesky Rebs

The Tennessee Vols overcame a late deficit to get a much-needed home victory against the Ole Miss Rebels 75-66. See InsideTennessee's take here on what led to the win and what it means for the Big Orange's chances of dancing in March.

Tennessee flipped the script from the first meeting against Mississippi, overcoming a 62-55 deficit with just 4:50 to play to pull away for a 75-66 win on Wednesday night.

The Volunteers tightened up the defense in the final minutes, led by four blocks by freshman Grant Williams.

The win moves the Vols to 14-10 and into six place in the Southeastern Conference with a 6-5 record. They upped their status on the NCAA Tournament bubble. After the win the Vols see their RealTimeRPI go to No. 36 and keeps them in a good spot to make the NCAA tourney for the first time in three years.

The upcoming game with Georgia on Saturday looms large for SEC standings and postseason play. The Rebels drop to 14-10 and 5-6. 

Offense: This game was a grind on offense. Ole Miss kept the Vols out of rhythm most of the night with switching defenses. Tennessee shot just 42 percent from the floor but went to the free-throw line 36 times, including 27 in the second half. The Big Orange was the aggressor in the second half and got into the bonus early.

Tennessee was led by Williams and Robert Hubbs III both with 18 points.

Admiral Schofield hit a big 3-pointer in the second stanza. Jordan Bowden made perhaps the biggest trifecta as his second of the day put the Vols up 71-66 with with 54 seconds left after a well-timed timeout from Rick Barnes with just 6 seconds on the shot clock.

The Vols finished with just 12 turnovers after committing half of those in the first 10 minutes of the contest.

Coming off two tough games and a really bad start in this one, Lamonté Turner played well down the stretch, finishing with four assists and nine points. Turners's 3-pointer with 4:15 to play cut the Ole Miss lead to 62-60 and the Vols took off from there.

Defense: The Big Orange held the visitors to 34 percent from the floor and limited Sebastian Saiz to 13 points with double and triple teams all night long. During much of the second half Tennessee had a tough time stopping the dribble drive but Williams led the charge, shutting that down late.

Blocks were a factor in the victory for the Vols as they had nine. Williams and Kyle Alexander played well, keeping the ball away from Saiz as he was only able to get on the scoreboard off the offensive glass.

Rebounding: For the second straight game the Vols were beaten badly on the glass. Ole Miss won the battle 46-37 and 20-11 in offensive rebounding. As poorly as the Vols rebounded, the play of the night might have been a hustle play by Hubbs, who flew in for an offensive board and found Williams for a layup as he was falling out of bounds. That hustle basket tied the game at 64-all with 2:52 remaining.

Bowden and Williams contributed seven rebounds piece. Bowden has become a solid rebounder out of the shooting-guard position. Alexander continues to improve. Saiz hurt the Vols on the glass as he got a number of put-back baskets in the second half.


Offense: B

Defense: A

Rebounding: D

USA Today Images/Randy Sartin

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