No. 17 Tennessee gets back in the win column, defeats George Mason 87-66

By Justin Clemmer

Photo Credit: Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Volunteers returned to Knoxville and were able to snap their three game losing skid against the George Mason Patriots, winning 87-66. 

The Volunteers offense was extremely balanced tonight. Eight guys had at least six points, and four were in double figures: Jonas Aidoo (17), Josiah-Jordan James (15), Tobe Awaka (11), and Dalton Knecht (10).  

The ball was moving with a purpose. The Vols were doing a lot of damage with back cuts, and simple dribble-drive penetration, opening up easy layups and plenty of catch-and-shoot opportunities.

Tennessee amounted 27 assists their most this season, their previous high was 21 against Tennessee Tech. 

“When we play the way we want to play, we expect a lot of assisted baskets,” said Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes. 

Possibly the biggest beneficiary of the crisp ball movement was Jonas Aidoo. Tennessee’s big man had a career night, scoring 17 a career high. He didn’t mind sharing the sugar either, matching his career high in assists with four.

“I think if you look up the word length in the dictionary, it’s gonna be a picture of Jonas Aidoo,” said George Mason head coach Tony Skinn. 

Josiah-Jordan James looked comfortable all night, getting to his spots all night shooting a very efficient clip (6-9 FG). He had several pull-ups and turn-around jumpers near the free throw stripe. He didn’t force anything, when the shot wasn’t there he would dish it out. He racked up six assists on the night, matching the team  high with Zakai Ziegler. 

“When he’s playing his best basketball, I would call him a connector,” said Barnes. 

Tennessee will stay home for their next game, as they take on No. 11 Illinois, who just defeated No. 11 Florida Atlantic. 

“It’s going to be a hard-fought basketball game,” said Barnes.

The game will played this Saturday, Dec. 12, at 12:00 p.m. E.T. on CBS.