Vols Defeat Auburn Despite Continued Offensive Struggles

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Photo via Vol_Hoops on Twitter

FINAL:

Tennessee – 46

Auburn – 43

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Coming off a tough loss, Tennessee would have to turn around and host Auburn and their former coach Bruce Pearl. While the loss to Florida stung and the offense looked pedestrian in said loss, The Vols would have to snap and clear to move on and find success against The Tigers. When these two get together it’s always a war and you never see the same thing twice.

Tennessee had not fixed whatever was plaguing them in Gainesville as they started off the game 0-7 from the floor allowing Auburn to build an 8-0 lead. Auburn’s ability to score went off to wherever The Vols left theirs as both teams struggled to score for the next two minutes and change. By the 8:30 mark Tennessee was able to battle its way back to a 15-13 lead. Yes, you read that right, a combined 28 points in 11 minutes and 30 seconds. The offensive woes continued as only one basket was made by each team in the next three minutes. It was a slow crawl to the halftime break with Tennessee going on a small run due to Auburn making zero field goals in the last 5:45 to take a 23-19 lead to the locker room.

The second half began with more of the same as neither team was able to score outside of free throws until an Auburn layup broke the ice at 15:39. A three-pointer by Allen Flannigan brought the score to 28 all with 14 minutes to play. The game was living up to its usual hard-fought close game reputation, but nobody was expecting this level of offensive ineptitude. After tying the game, Auburn would not score another point until 8:52 and yet Tennessee only led by six. Auburn again would go on another extended scoring drought and once again Tennessee would follow along ad only extend their lead by two more points. This allowed Auburn to battle back to within two with 2:49 to go. At 2:33 Santiago Vescovi would make his only three-pointer of the game to make it 43-38, and Wendell Green would hit a three-pointer of his own with 30 seconds left to bring the game within a possession at 44-41. These two threes in the last three minutes of the game were two of five total three-pointers made all day by both teams combined. With 18 seconds left Auburn would get within one point of The Vols at 44-43. It was going to come down to free throws and defense for Tennessee. Zakai Zeigler made both his attempts and Auburn was going to have one shot to tie. Green took a deep three (that you can watch below via Roundballpod on Twitter) and drew contact that would result in a controversial no-call.

Tennessee would escape with a 46-43 win as both teams shot a combined 25% on the night.

Josiah Jordan-James led all scorers with 15 points, while Johni Broome led Auburn with 11. Jordan-James led all playes with 14 rebounds, and Broome led The Tigers with nine. Zakai Zeigler led all players with six assists, and Green led Auburn with three.

This is what Tennessee Head Coach, Rick Barnes, had to say post-game via Ben McKee of Govols247 on Twitter:

Tennessee’s next game is against Vanderbilt in Nashville at 6:00pm on Wednesday.