Cuonzo Martin. A conference road game on Super Tuesday. A top-five team taking on an unranked foe on their home floor.
Third-ranked Tennessee’s SEC clash with Missouri came with all of the intrigue a big-time game has to offer, and for most of the first half, it lived up to that hype. In the end however, the Vols did what they’ve done most of this season; win in convincing fashion.
Behind a big night from Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden, along with a dominant run to close out the first half, Tennessee (13-1, 2-0 SEC) topped Missouri (9-4, 1-1 SEC), 87-63 for their ninth-straight win.
The opening minutes of the first half were back and forth, but Missouri was able to put Tennessee into unfamiliar territory with hot shooting from beyond the arc.
The Tigers rattled off a 9-0 run, leading 27-19 with all of the momentum. That’s when Bone went to work, scoring 15 of the Vols 41 first half points during a dominating 24-4 run to close out the opening period.
Perhaps most impressive about Tennessee’s first half performance was they received a total of just three points between Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield, and were still able to find production in other players to take an 11-point lead into the intermission.
Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner combined for 31 points in the first half.
There were no signs of let down in the second half, either. Missouri managed to pull the game within nine in the early going of the half, but Tennessee was able to find an answer to every Tiger basket, leading by as much as 22 at one point.
Missouri was again able to mount a little momentum with just over six minutes left in regulation, thanks in large part to a series of sloppy Tennessee turnovers and foul trouble. Because of that, the Tigers cut the Vols lead down to 17.
Working with a little momentum on their side, Bone was able to take some of it away with a reverse lay up to put Tennessee up 76-57 with less than four minutes to go, but Missouri came out of a timeout with three-pointer from Xavier Pinson. That shot was followed by lay up from K.J. Santos.
Any chance of a Tiger comeback was snuffed out in the final two minutes in the form of a 6-0 run by Tennessee, with four of those points coming from Admiral Schofield.
Tennessee outscored the Tigers in the second half, 46-32, as Jordan Bowden finished with a team-high 20 points off of the bench, followed by Bone who finished with 17. Schofield had 16, with 13 of his points coming in the second half.
In the rebound category, Kyle Alexander had 17 total rebounds, with 10 of those coming on the defensive end of the floor.
As a team, the Vols were 31-of-58 from the floor for 53-percent and 7-of-19 for over 36-percent from three-point land.