No. 18 Tennessee keeps rolling through the SEC, this time by defeating LSU 84-61 on Wednesday night and picking up their third straight conference win. It was also Tennessee’s largest margin of victory in a conference game this year.
With a 6-3 conference record, Tennessee is in a three-way tie with Florida and Kentucky for second place, behind Auburn.
Here are three observations from the Vols’ win over LSU:
Defense, defense, defense
Tennessee ranks 11th in the country in defensive efficiency, holding its last six opponents to under 63 points. During that stretch, the Vols are 5-1 and are averaging 69 points per game, while holding opponents to just 58.
For the second straight game, Tennessee won the rebounding battle by double digits, holding a 39-29 advantage over LSU. Additionally, the Vols came away with 30 defensive rebounds to LSU’s 22.
Light ‘em up
Tennessee had four players in double figures: Grant Williams (16), Jordan Bone (12), James Daniel III (17) and Lamonte Turner (12). LSU’s Duop Reath led all scorers with 21 points, but aside from he and Randy Onwuasor’s 10 points, LSU didn’t really mount much of a scoring threat.
The Vols bench also came up big, again. Daniel and Turner provided the fireworks, but John Fulkerson (4), Derrick Walker (5), Chris Darrington (3) and Jalen Johnson (3) helped the Vols’ bench outscore LSU’s 44-8.
This team has found its swagger
Ever since an 11-point win on Jan. 6 over Kentucky, Tennessee has played with a bit of swagger. The Vols look like a team that believes it is the top team in the SEC, save for a four-point loss to Missouri on Jan. 17.
In Wednesday’s win over LSU, Tennessee led for 36 minutes, thanks in part to a big first half. It was the sixth time this season that Tennessee has scored 40 or more points in the first half.
Additionally, the Vols have seemed to found their scoring touch. Tennessee has three players averaging over double figures: Williams (16.1 PPG), Schofield (12.4 PPG), and Turner (10.4 PPG), with Jordan Bowden not too far behind at 9.7 points per game.
Tennessee has also turned up the heat from 3-point land this year. Currently, three Vols are shooting over 40 percent from 3 (minimum 70 attempts): Schofield (.433), Bowden (.500) and Daniel III (.418). With four legitimate scoring threats, Tennessee seems to be peaking at the right time.