Tennessee improved to 6-1 today with a win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The Vols started slow, but poured it on in spurts today. There were some good moments and some not so good moments, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise considering the odd noon Sunday start.
Here’s how things played out.
Slow Start, but a quick rebound for Tennessee
The Vols struggled from the field to open the game. Texas A&M C.C. jumped out to a 15-8 lead after hitting a couple of three-pointers to get this one going. Tennessee was sloppy, but that didn’t last very long.
A 15-8 lead for the Islanders quickly turned into a 22-15 lead for the Vols. Kyle Alexander, Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield and Jordan Bone all got in on the action as Tennessee turned it on in the blink of an eye.
A huge Tennessee run
It turned into a 28-6 run for Tennessee to end the first half. Tennessee picked up the intensity on the defensive end, forcing turnovers and playing tighter on the perimeter.
Texas A&M C.C. had a tough time with Alexander down low, as his length proved to be a huge advantage for the Vols in the rebounding and scoring department. Alexander finished the half with eight points, four rebounds and a block. Tennessee held the overall advantage in the paint, outscoring the Islanders 12-2.
Islanders hanging around
Myles Smith was a one man show for Corpus Christi. Back to back to back three-pointers from Smith kept the Islanders breathing in the first five minutes of the second half. They got it down to an 11 point deficit with 15 minutes to play in the second half, but then Tennessee’s defense showed up.
Back to back turnovers ended that uneasy stretch for Tennessee. The Vols scored on two breakaway slams to extend the lead back to 17 points.
Never in doubt, but it wasn’t pretty either
Tennessee never found any rhythm offensively today — which you have to give Texas A&M C.C. plenty of credit for. They defended well in the half-court, all things considered. The Islanders mucked it up enough to never really let Grant Williams find a groove. Still, Williams managed 14 points.
What were the Vols missing today? For one, Lamonte Turner was out, likely just nursing that shoulder a bit in a gimme-type game. More concerning, Jordan Bone and Yves Pons just flat didn’t have it today. Bone has been great through the first six games, but he took a step back today. Bone finished 1-6 from the field with just seven points. Barnes actually benched him in the second half after Bone committed a bad turnover.
Pons failed to capitalize on his game from Wednesday, which saw him start for the first time. Pons started once again, but Jordan Bowden played more minutes (16 vs. 24). Yves finished with only two points today and didn’t register a single rebound, which seems fairly tough to do.
Bowden, on the other hand, showed signs of life. He contributed 14 points today, going 4-6 from the field which included a three. Bowden was 5-5 from the line. It’s going to be interesting to see who Barnes rolls with as the starter next Sunday.