It wasn’t a pretty win, but the Tennessee Volunteers moved to 6-1 tonight on the road against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Tennessee started slow in Atlanta. In fact, Rick Barnes had cycled through most of his bench by the first television timeout. Thankfully for the Vols, Georgia Tech couldn’t really take advantage of Tennessee’s lethargic offensive start.
The Vols took their first lead of the game at 12-10 after a three from Jordan Bowden. Lamonte Turner would get going after that, nailing two long range shots of his own.
It was Grant Williams’ turn from there. He dominated inside, despite an obvious size disadvantage against Tech senior Ben Lammers. Williams led all players at halftime with ten points to his credit. He also pulled down five rebounds.
The Volunteers led by as many as nine in the first half.
Big man Ben Lammers came out and kept Georgia Tech in the game out of the break. The 6-10 center got two three point attempts to fall. The Yellow Jackets pulled to within one point with 13 minutes left to play after an 8-0 run.
The Vols would answer though. Admiral Schofield scored his first points of the night in the middle of the second half, helping Tennessee gain back some of their lead. But the Yellow Jackets were just hanging around.
Georgia Tech kept pounding away inside, and it was working. They held a huge advantage in the free throw department for the entire night. Their work inside eventually got Grant Williams in some foul trouble, forcing him to the bench.
Both Williams and Schofield picked up their 4th fouls with around eight minutes to play. Someone else was going to have to step up for this team, who saw their lead slashed to just four points at the time.
Unfortunately, nobody did. The Vols did play some good defense, however. The lead was trimmed to just two points in the process though.
Barnes called a timeout at the four minute mark to get Williams back in the game. A couple of possessions later, he fouled out on a weak call battling for a rebound. The Tennessee lead was just one point with under three minutes to play, with Grant Williams unavailable to finish this one.
Tennessee found a way. That’s a good sign.
It was Lamonte Turner and Admiral Schofield stepping up in the end. Schofield hit four straight free throws to extend the Vols’ lead to a comfortable seven points.
Turner secured a long rebound and turned that into a transition bucket and a foul at the other end to seal this one. Turner ended up being the star of the show for Tennessee today. He ended with 24 points on just 12 shots, going 9-9 from the free throw line. When the Vols needed a bucket, Turner delivered.
This is just another quality win for this Tennessee basketball team. Purdue, N.C. State and now Georgia Tech are three wins that are going to matter in a couple of months. The Vols will be back in action on Saturday against Lipscomb at 1:15 eastern in Knoxville.