Tennessee was impressive once again on Tuesday night, passing their first SEC road test with flying colors at Missouri. There were a few things that really stood out from this one that should have you really excited for this group’s upside.
Vols can operate without Grant or Admiral
At halftime, Tennessee led by 11 points. Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield were responsible for three of the Vols’ 42 points. Schofield eventually got going, but he didn’t have to do the heavy lifting tonight. Williams ended the night with four points.
The Vols trailed early, struggling to defend the rim and watching Missouri start hot from three point range. There was a particular stretch of play with about six minutes to go in the first half where Tennessee was down six points. Barnes took Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams out, keeping Jordan Bone, Lamonte Turner, Jordan Bowden, John Fulkerson and Derrick Walker on the floor.
Tennessee instantly went on a 7-0 run to take the lead.
Last year, if you took either of those guys off the floor, the Vols were sunk on the offensive end. Now you can rely on Jordan Bone to keep the offense running in these stretches. Bone added a three pointer in this sequence and found Jordan Bowden on an outlet pass for an easy two points after a turnover.
It’s a really good sign to have other guys produce and to see Barnes have confidence in those guys in a key spot of the game.
Kyle Alexander, Jordan Bowden stringing games together
Seemingly out of nowhere, Bowden and Alexander have put career games together back to back. Alexander followed up a 12 and 14 performance against Georgia with a 14 and 17 game against Missouri. His aggression and pure dominance on the boards is a big reason why you’ve seen lopsided scores over the past couple of days.
Another reason has been Jordan Bowden, who has come off the bench with back to back 20 points outputs. He’s done just about all his damage at the rim, going just 1-8 from long range against Missouri and Georgia. Interestingly enough, Barnes only gave Pons nine minutes against Missouri, opting to go smaller with Bowden and Lamonte Turner. We’ll see if that’s something that sticks, or if it was just an adjustment for this game alone.
Efficient night for Lamonte
After missing so much time with a shoulder issue, it would be totally understandable if Lamonte struggled for a few games. But Lamonte did what Lamonte does on Tuesday night against Missouri. When Tennessee was down nine, Turner drilled a three with a hand in his face to jumpstart the offense again. Shortly after that shot, Tennessee went on a run and never looked back.
Turner finished 3-5 from the field and 3-4 from three point range, which was a big time positive sign for this team going forward. The Vols have gotten a lot done without him this year, but adding him into the mix could form a deadly combination. Maybe the most encouraging sign of all was that Turner logged 29 minutes. It seems that the shoulder issues are officially behind him.