Vols Get Win At Mizzou Behind Much-Needed Night From Bowden

The Tennessee basketball team hit the road on Tuesday night for a matchup against former coach Cuonzo Martin and the Missouri Tigers.

Tennessee, 1-4 in its last five games, was looking to get back on the winning side of things. It’s been an interesting few games for the Vols, who continue to look for new threats when it comes to scoring, while trying to get Jordan Bowden comfortable again from range.

Bowden, who has been struggling lately with his shot, had nine points in the first half. That is a welcomed sign for Tennessee fans and especially Bowden. Things have just seemed off for the veteran so far this season, but this was a good start.

Jalen Johnson was one of four players who had 11 points for Tennessee. going 3-of-4 from 3-point range, in 13 minutes of action. Johnson, who has been fighting for playing time, definitely took advantage of the minutes he was given, especially with folks saying how much talent the young player has. The Vols needed more points from the bench, after struggling to find much over the past month.

Santiago Vescovi only played eight minutes in the first half, after playing almost the whole game against LSU. The young player had two turnovers in the first half, which contributed to sitting on the bench a good amount. But, with Johnson scoring, it gave Tennessee an opportunity with its rotation.

Tennessee started off the second half with back to back 3-pointers from Josiah-Jordan James and Yves Pons, which pushed their run to 12-0. This was exactly the start Tennessee needed, especially from behind the arc, as Martin had to burn a timeout at the 18:29 mark.

Just when you thought things were going smooth for Tennessee, as it was up by 10 points, Missouri went on a 9-0 run and tied up the game at the 13:45 mark. Things continued to trend upwards for Missouri, as the Tennessee defense struggled to find the open man. The Tigers went on a 14-3 run, taking the lead briefly, before Tennessee tied it up at 45-all at the under-12 break.

This turned into a dog fight, that probably didn’t need to get to this point. Things started to heat up between the two teams at the 10:15 mark, as both teams were becoming a bit frustrated. A technical foul was called on Missouri’s Mitchell Smith after a small push on Vescovi, who made it look a bit worse than it actually was.

Just when things were looking up for Missouri, Triple-J and Vescovi went to work for Tennessee. The duo knocked down a trio of 3-pointers, as the Vols went on a 9-o run and taking back the momentum.

Tennessee had the weapons to put this game away, which is exactly what happen. After Vescovi went on an 8-0 run by himself, Bowden hit the big shot this team had been waiting on.

Missouri went 1-of-8 from the field during a stretch towards the end of the game, as Tennessee had a nine point lead with 47 seconds left. Tennessee attacking the glass on the defensive end continued to pay off, as it took advantage of some closing free throws in reward.

The Vols finished off the Tigers 69-59, holding Missouri to just 35 percent shooting from the field and out-rebounding them 32-29. Tennessee held Missouri without a field goal in the last 3:31 on the way to the road win.

James had himself a huge second half, scoring all of his 11 points on the night. But tonight was about Bowden, who had been struggling to find his shot for a period of time, something just seemed off. Tonight though, he finished as the Vols’ leading scorer, with 14 points and four rebounds in 40 minutes of play. This was a very big night for his confidence and the trajectory of the Tennessee season. He needed this, just as much as his team did.

The Vols had six players in double-digits tonight & shot 53 percent from the field. So, this was just what the doctor ordered, besides the 21 turnovers that Rick Barnes will not be happy about. Barnes said “The last couple of weeks we’ve melted down, Tonight we found a way to win.”

This Tennessee team is still struggling in many different areas. They are not very good at the moment, but definitely have room to grow. One thing we know about this team is that they are going to fight you every game, this will keep this group in a lot of ball games. But, if they can get the same kind of performance from Bowden, it will rub off on the rest of this group, which could lead to a few more wins than expected.

Tennessee snaps a two-game losing streak and holds a team to under 60 points for the sixth time this season. The Vols return home on Saturday to host South Carolina.