Rick Barnes and his No. 21 Tennessee basketball team gave fans an early Christmas gift on Saturday, winning on the road at Wake Forest to start the season 9-2. After a shaky first half where a few key players got into foul trouble, the Vols got out to a good start in the second half, and closed the game on a 16-2 run, winning 79-60.
Jordan Bowden is This Team’s Biggest Threat From 3
Rick Barnes mentioned in the week leading up to this game that the Vols need to get Jordan Bowden more opportunities from beyond the arch, and they did just that in Winston-Salem. Bowden was 100 percent from three (yes, you read that correctly), shooting 5 for 5.
Currently the SEC leader in 3-point percentage (57 percent), Bowden had been a little too unselfish in games before Saturday, and his 17 points made a difference for Tennessee.
Kyle Alexander Can Make an Impact
When guys like Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield got into foul trouble in the first half, Kyle Alexander helped Tennessee keep its head above the water and take a one-point lead into halftime. With 9 of his 11 points coming in the first half, Alexander added two blocks, seven rebounds, and three assists as well.
The 6-foot-10 sophomore forward seems to be coming into his own this season.
Tennessee Goes as Grant Williams Goes
We have known this all season, but today’s game was just a reminder. The Vols racked up 13 fouls in the first half, causing Williams to only play about six minutes, and Tennessee struggled. He got going in the second half, finishing with 11 points and three rebounds.
There is no question Williams has been Tennessee’s MVP all season long, and the Vols will need him to stay out of foul trouble down the stretch in big games.