Vols Quickly Victorious Over Struggling Vanderbilt

Photo by Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

By Gabriel Daniel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – No. 8 Tennessee dominated an overmatched Vanderbilt team in an 88-53 win Saturday night in Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center.

The win completes the Volunteers’ (19-6, 9-3 SEC) season sweep of the Commodores (7-18, 2-10 SEC).

The first half was much different for the Vols than in the previous matchup at Vanderbilt. At half in Nashville, the Commodores led by five while limiting the Vols to 30 points. On Saturday, the Vols blew past that mark only seven minutes into the first half.

The Vols started the game off hot, hitting their first four shots taken, including three from behind the arc. They kept the hot shooting streak the rest of the half, shooting 47% from three-point range. 

The three-point shot was going down for the Vols all game. They finished the game shooting 45% from three, with Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi each hitting four. 

“Offensively I think we are doing a lot better job of taking open shots. We know that’s not easy, especially in the SEC to get open shots.” Vescovi said. “So, whenever you are open just take it, don’t second guess yourself.” 

Dalton Knecht and Zeigler shared the scoring high for Tennessee with 14. The rest of the Tennessee starting lineup each had double digit points in an all-around effort. 

“We made shots, I’ve said before it all looks nice when shots are going in … I thought our guys were really locked in,” said Vols head coach Barnes. 

On top of the explosive offense, the Vols defense was its usual self. It forced 19 turnovers, nine of which were steals, on top of four blocks. 

In the lopsided victory, the younger side of the Tennessee roster got more play time than usual.

Vols guard Cameron Carr came off the bench and scored eight points, including two threes. The freshman out of Eden Prairie, MN set his career high in points and steals in a season-high 13 minutes. 

“ I thought he played hard and played long minutes. Early in the year he was a guy who got fatigued after a minute or so. All those young guys need time… what they have benefited from is practicing everyday against the team they go against every day,” said Barnes. 

Up next, the Vols travel to Columbia to take on Missouri Tuesday at 7:00 pm ET. The game will air on the SEC network.