Tennessee came out hot on defense against Appalachian State tonight and followed it up with an impressive night shooting. One thing we’ve seen from this group is their tenacity on defense, which didn’t let up on Tuesday.
The Vols used the same starting lineup tonight as they’ve rolled with in the previous two games.
It wasn’t just App state putting up bad shots, it was also Tennessee contesting every attempt. The Vols were already up 13-0 at the 14:06 mark, creating havoc on the defensive end. If it weren’t for some missed shots underneath the basket, things could’ve looked even worse.
It didn’t take long for the freshman to enter the rotation tonight, as Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson entered the game right before the first break. Also joining them was E.J. Anosike, who had himself a nice night along the boards.
The Vols led 24-6 at the under eight break, using a nice 8-0 run to break things open. Appalachian State was shooting 14% from the field at this point, thanks in large part to Tennessee getting a hand into every shooters face. This was lining up to be another big night for the Vols defense.
One thing that continues to stand out is that this team doesn’t have a drop-off on either end of the court when they start rotating players in. The Vols have nine players that can bring the heat on defense, which Rick Barnes is taking advantage of early this season.
Tennessee finished the first half holding App St. to 18% shooting from the field and 0% shooting from the perimeter. John Fulkerson led the Vols with 8 points in the first twenty minutes, as they led 36-13. Tennessee had 24 points in the paint as well.
I imagine Rick Barnes wasn’t pleased with the 5-0 run they gave up before half. Knowing this, it wasn’t a surprise that the Vols came out breathing fire.
Tennessee didn’t let off the gas in the second half, continuing to force bad shots and forcing 18 turnovers.
Victor Bailey Jr. led the Vols with 9 points in nine minutes of action. This Tennessee team continued to show they can do it on both ends of the court, especially when their shots fall.
Tennessee had 19 points off the bench and 22 points in the paint, dominating Appalachian State around the basket. The Vols didn’t take a free throw shot until under the ten minute mark, which is another impressive stat.
Victor Bailey Jr. led Tennessee in scoring tonight with 13 points, followed by John Fulkerson and Jaden Springer who both had 12. Josiah-Jordan James had 11 points for the Vols and finished 3-3 from behind the perimeter.
Tennessee had eleven different players in the scoring column tonight and shot 49% from the field. The Vols only had 6 turnovers tonight, which I imagine pleased Rick Barnes more than any other stat.
Through three games, this Tennessee team is showing the country how versatile they really are. Knowing you can count on the bench to bring the same kind of energy as your starting five will carry this group a long way this season if they can keep it up.
Tennessee is now 3-0 on the season and is starting to prove why they are ranked #10 in the country.
We’ve got a long ways to go, but tonight was one of those performances that folks can look at and see what kind of potential these Vols have.
All Images Courtesy Of Tennessee Athletic Communications