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Tennessee Vols Basketball: Men's Team Finishes European Tour Undefeated

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The Vols cap off a successful trip with a big win in Paris.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at South Carolina
Grant Williams is set for a big year in 2017
Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The men's basketball team finished up their European Tour on Friday with an undefeated record, but not before facing their biggest challenge to date.

The Vols held off the Paris All-Stars right up until the final minute in order to complete the 84-79 victory.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Tournament-Georgia vs Tennessee
Barnes has to be pleased with how his team played overseas.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore power forward Grant Williams continued his outstanding play during the trip, finishing with a team-high 19 points and 10 rebounds. Williams averaged around 13 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per game during the past three games - potentially giving UT a much-needed physical presence.

Not only was Williams an effective player in scoring and rebounding, but he delivered a crucial block on a 3-point attempt by Paris with :30 seconds left in the game. The Vols were clinging onto a 80-77 lead, and the block all but sealed the victory for Tennessee.

"This was probably the toughest game for us (here in Europe)," Williams said. "We were really forced to play as a team. We showed that we can all play with each other, and we showed that—no matter what—we're going to push through. All the guys did their jobs tonight." - Grant Williams, via utsports.com

Guard Lamonte Turner, the hero from the previous match against Valencia, made both of his free throws - followed by two more from Chris Darrington to end the game.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Louisiana State
Can Grant Williams be the presence down low that Tennessee needs?
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

It was a very balanced and team-oriented effort from the Vols, which also included a touch of resiliency. The Vols fell behind by six points in the third quarter and managed to close the gap to just two entering the fourth quarter.

Seven Vols scored seven points or more, including a magnificent 14-point performance by true freshman Derrick Walker.

Overall, what the Vols did in Europe was very encouraging, but there is still a long way to go for a team that finished 16-16 in 2016.

Head coach Rick Barnes is putting together a solid nucleus of young, talented players and it seems as if the recipe is working.

But as Williams pointed out, the work has just begun.

"We're going to have to work on our defense and just focus on improving every day," Williams said. "We have to build on what we did here and take that into our season for non-conference and SEC play." - Grant Williams, via utsports.com

The Vols now have three preseason games before the Battle of Atlantis. It will be tip-off time before we know it!

You can check out the full game recap and stats here.