Tennessee completed the season sweep of Vanderbilt on Tuesday night, clinging to a narrow lead down the stretch after blowing a huge lead. The Commodores came storming back from down 20, but couldn’t quite finish the job.
Here are three things that stood out.
1. Bowden is back.
In a strange development, Jordan Bowden disappeared from the Tennessee offense over the past two games. Just two points in two games, the Vols obviously needed more from the sophomore sharpshooter. They got it tonight.
Bowden started 3-4 from three point range, adding 11 points in the first half which included a four point play. He finished with a team high 19, shooting 5-7 from long range.
As I’ve said all along, there are going to be nights where Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield don’t have it. Tennessee needs that consistent 3rd option, which has proven to be Bowden at times. He just can’t disappear on us like he did last week.
2. Why can’t Tennessee put games away?
It’s been a disturbing theme of the entire season, dating all the way back to the Villanova game in the Bahamas. For whatever reason, Tennessee usually starts well, then falls apart somewhere in the middle of the second half.
The Volunteers led by 20 tonight, only to see their lead cut to two points after a barrage of Riley LaChance three pointers. Games against Arkansas, Auburn and North Carolina stand out off the top of my head.
Tennessee finds a way more than they don’t, but it’s still a trend that they need to kick. It seems like they get timid on the offensive end and let up defensively. Tonight’s game should have never been close. It’s something that Rick Barnes and his staff is going to have to fix before tournament season.
3. Derrick Walker provides a spark... Again.
Tennessee scored just two points in the first five minutes of the game. Barnes went to his bench quickly and once again it was Derrick Walker making a difference. Two quick offensive rebounds turned misses into points, giving the Vols an early lead in the process.
His five points didn’t do much to tip the scales, but his immediate production on the boards really helped get things going in the first half. I doubt John Fulkerson is getting these minutes back anytime soon.