Tennessee dropped another road game tonight, this time at the hands of the Georgia Bulldogs. It was a slow, ugly game that the Vols just never really settled in to. It was a big time missed opportunity with Auburn losing earlier to South Carolina.
Just 16 points were scored in the opening ten minutes of the game combined. The shots just weren’t falling for the Volunteers early, but luckily for them, they weren’t falling early for the Bulldogs either. That was until Georgia star Yante Maten got going. Maten scored 11 of the first 13 points for the Bulldogs.
Georgia took control of this one midway through the second half as Tennessee’s offense remained stagnant. Finally — Lamonte Turner gave Tennessee a spark with a contested three pointer that cut the Georgia lead to six. Jordan Bowden hit another on the next possession to make it a three point game.
Tennessee was able to get Maten his 2nd foul, sending him to the bench. The Vols took advantage down low, cutting the Georgia lead to just two points at halftime. Considering the slow start to this one, Tennessee was fortunate to be where they were.
Georgia came out ready to roll in the second half. A two point lead quickly grew to a ten point lead after just a couple minutes of play. Fortunately, James Daniel and Admiral Schofield were there to answer with a couple of three pointers.
But Georgia didn’t let up. Multiple defensive breakdowns from Tennessee gave the Bulldogs too many easy looks, allowing them to maintain a three possession lead.
With 11 minutes left, Tennessee forward Grant Williams picked up back to back fouls on the same possession. That gave him four on the night, sending him to the bench for the foreseeable future.
Turner and Bowden hit another couple of three pointers to stop the bleeding, however. That cut the Georgia lead to five. The Tennessee offense actually woke up with Williams on the bench. Kyle Alexander logged some big minutes, scoring on multiple second-chance opportunities.
The Vols got within two points, but then Georgia’s Derek Ogbeide converted a three point play. Tyree Crump then nailed a three to bring Georgia’s lead back to six with under five minutes to play.
Grant Williams checked back into the game shortly after.
Tennessee missed a couple of point blank looks at the basket out of a timeout, which can’t happen in crunch time. Bowden was able to cut it to five points on the next possession with 2:30 to play.
Georgia missed two shots on their next trip, but grabbed two offensive boards. Crump drilled a three to follow that, which buried the Vols. Grant Williams fouled out of the game, going just 1-8 and grabbing only four rebounds on the night.
The telling stat in this one was free throw attempts. Georgia went to the stripe 38 times compared to Tennessee’s 15. The Bulldogs aggressively attacked the paint and did a good enough job of converting from the free throw line.
Tennessee will come back home to face Florida on Wednesday at 8 PM eastern.