Sat, 28 May 2022

No. 24 Tennessee angles for rebound at Vanderbilt

Field Level Media
18 Jan 2022, 07:05 GMT+10

No. 24 Tennessee has been alternating wins and losses over its last six games and hopes to get back into the Southeastern Conference win column Tuesday night in Nashville against host Vanderbilt.

Santiago Vescovi's 20 points weren't enough for the Volunteers (11-5, 2-3 SEC) to come close to taking out then-No. 18 Kentucky in Saturday's 107-79 setback in Lexington.

The Wildcats blistered the nets at home with 79 percent shooting in the first half. Prior to the game, the most points Tennessee had allowed in a game was 79, in a Jan. 8 loss at LSU.

"Not to take anything away from Kentucky, because I thought they played as well as I've ever seen them play, to be quite frank," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. "But also, looking at it, a lot of things we didn't do. Defense was really not very good. Our one-on-one defense wasn't there at all. Some of the points they got, some of those drives to the basket, we obviously didn't get it across to the guys the way we wanted it done."

Barnes also pointed out that starting forwards Olivier Nkamhoua and John Fulkerson did not grab a single rebound between them against Kentucky. Both were averaging close to six per game going into that contest.

Barnes complimented Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse on the work he is doing with the Commodores.

"He is building the program more and more. They have done a great job developing players that have stayed with them and helped them really find their roles and their niche," Barnes said. "They shoot the ball well. They have good balance. They run really good stuff on offense. They are changing their defenses up."

Vanderbilt (10-6, 2-2) is coming off a 73-66 win at Georgia on Saturday in which Jordan Wright tallied 20 points and 12 rebounds and the Commodores overcame an eight-point halftime deficit.

Wright had struggled to make shots consistently over recent games before hitting 8 of 13 overall and 4 of 7 from 3-point range against the Bulldogs.

Wright said his teammates showed confidence in him, which helped after he missed his first two 3-pointers.

"They kept picking me up the whole time," he said. "Every time I went to the bench, coaches, everybody is uplifting me. So once I saw that first one go down it felt good."

Scotty Pippen Jr. did not shoot well Saturday, going 3 for 12, but he is the team's leading scorer at 18.8 points per game this season.

Pippen has had seven 20-point games this season and two 30-point games.

"It's a great game to give us some confidence with Tennessee coming back at home on Tuesday," Stackhouse said. "Hopefully this will give us some confidence for us to come in and protect our home court."

--Field Level Media

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