Slumpin' seniors

The fact Tennessee's basketball team beat South Carolina by seven points Sunday in Columbia was impressive. Even more impressive was the fact the Vols did so with virtually no help from two of their key players.

Senior Andre Patterson sank just 1 of 5 from the floor and finished with more fouls (4) than points (2) in 14 mediocre minutes. This is the same guy who scored 21 points in Game 2 against Louisiana Lafayette, then grabbed 14 rebounds in Game 4 against Murray State and again in Game 8 vs. Alabama A&M. Over the last three outings, however, the 6-7 post player has averaged a mere 5.3 points and 2.7 rebounds per game.

"I do think Andre's got it in him," head coach Bruce Pearl said. "That's the exciting part. I'm hoping he's in a mini-slump and that he can play his way out of it. It's a good sign when we can win without him contributing as much as he's capable of because he's capable of more."

Senior Stanley Asumnu, a 6-5 small forward, contributed even less than Patterson against Carolina. He made just 1 of 4 floor shots and 0 of 2 free throws. He had 2 points, 2 rebounds and a turnover to show for 18 unproductive minutes of action. He also had a poor outing in Game 10 against South Alabama, finishing with 6 points and 0 rebounds in 14 fruitless minutes. So, after averaging 10.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in the first nine games, Asumnu has averaged just 4 points, 1 rebound and half an assist the past two games.

"Stanley looks a little fatigued," Pearl said.

Although Tennessee beat South Alabama 87-69 and South Carolina 76-69 with virtually no assistance from Asumnu and Patterson, a continued lack of production from them could prove costly in the weeks ahead.

"Again, it's a good sign when Stanley and Andre, two of your seniors, don't play up to par and we still can win," Pearl noted. "But it would be a terrific concern if it continued."

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