Volunteers Dominate Alcorn State, Extend Win Streak to Six

Photo Credit: University of Tennessee Athletics
By Keeghan Krause

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The Vols got off to a shaky start this season, losing what was virtually a home game in Nashville to Colorado by a margin of 12 points.

This early loss gave a lot of Vol fans a scare, but since then, the Volunteers have gotten better and better each week. That trend continued Sunday night as Tennessee dominated Alcorn State in a 94-40 victory at Thompson-Boling Arena.

After that early loss, the Vols knew they had some things to figure out if they wanted to be the SEC contender they thought they were coming into the season. Namely turnovers, three-point shooting, and Zakai Zeigler’s role. After a successful outing in Atlantis, as well as back-to-back dominant performances at home, it seems as if the Vols have done just that. 

The turnovers have come down significantly over the past few games. They were at a peak of 24 against Kansas, but the last two games have seen turnovers down to 11 in each matchup. The three-point shooting has improved significantly. The Vols have still been shooting at a high volume but the percentage has been much higher and the quality of shots has seemed to have greatly improved. Lastly, Zakai Zeigler has found his role and has shined as the sixth man and spark of the bench. 

Sunday against Alcorn State seemed like a culmination of all those things. The Vols only turned the ball over 11 times, they shot 33.3% from three-point land, and Zeigler had a great game in his 22 minutes off the bench scoring 10 points and dishing out four assists. 

The domination in tonight’s matchup started right from the jump, as the Vols hopped out to an 18-4 early lead, and lead at the half 49-22. This hot start came on the back of three Tyreke Key threes, and 14 first half points from Julian Phillips. Defensively the Vols strangled the Braves, forcing 11 first half turnovers, holding them to 33% from the field, and 0-9 from three. 

The second half was more of the same. Offensively the Vols shot 52.4% from the field and 33.3% from three on the game. Defensively they forced the Braves to turn the ball over 22 times and held them to 20.8% from the field and 14.3% from three. This led to a final score of 94-40. 

Some key players in this one included Tyreke Key who had 11 points and 2 assists. Jahmai Mashack had 13 points, 7 boards, and four steals. As well as Julian Phillips who had 18 points, 4 rebounds, and three assists. 

However, the real star in this one was Olivier Nkamhoua who had a season-high 20 points, along with dishing out 6 assists and pulling in 4 boards. He showed that he had the potential to be a true first-option scorer for this Volunteer team. 

Next up is a home matchup against Eastern Kentucky on Wednesday. The Vols also look ahead to back-to-back top-25 matchups against Maryland and Arizona later in December. So keep a watch out to see if the Vols continue their good play against some tougher competition.