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Three takeaways: Tennessee loses at LSU

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Here’s what stood out.

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Louisiana State Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Tennessee suffered their second loss in seven days on Saturday, falling to LSU in dramatic fashion. An overtime game turned out to be decided by a foul call that occurred 75 feet away from the basket. Grant Williams was called for the foul while going for a rebound on the floor. LSU won it at the free throw stripe just seconds later, throwing the SEC race into a three way tie.

Tennessee blew a nine point lead with 6:46 left to play.

Above all else, the sentence above is the main takeaway from this game. Tennessee flat blew it defensively.

The Vols were in control, going back and forth with the Tigers for much of the second half. Admiral Schofield was in rhythm, at one point hitting back to back three pointers to give Tennessee a cushion. But LSU never went away.

Instead of finding that extra gear and putting the Tigers away like we’ve seen Tennessee do time and time again, Will Wade’s team kept chipping away.

The Vols didn’t have an answer for Ja’Vonte Smart, plain and simple. Smart got what ever he wanted driving to the rim without too much resistance. Down the stretch, Smart scored 11 straight points for LSU, willing them back into the ballgame.

It was the latest example of a lack of consistent defense from Tennessee and it ended up getting them beat today.

Lamonte Turner’s rushed three-point attempt in OT

Tennessee had the ball with eight seconds left in overtime with a chance to escape Baton Rouge with a win. Lamonte Turner decided to take a quick transition three-point attempt, but couldn’t connect. Grant Williams was called for a foul going for the rebound, ultimately costing Tennessee the game.

The question many were left with after the game was about Turner’s shot — was that really the best plan? Turner has proven to be a big-shot maker in the past, but this was was rushed. Turner was off-balance and had other options. Furthermore, the shot was early. It left time on the clock and a chance for LSU to do something with a potential rebound.

“We had what we wanted to do there,” Barnes said of the final possession. “Lamonte I think from the time he got the ball he had made up his mind that he was going to stop and pull up and shoot it, which is really not a good decision.”

What’s wrong with Tennessee’s offense? Bowden, Turner ineffective once again.

Another game, another day without much production from Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden. I mentioned after the game on Tuesday that Bowden was concerning, considering his confidence issues in the past. It seems like he’s crawled back into that shell lately, posting another four point day on Saturday.

Bowden was just 1-4 from the floor, only attempting one three in total. Lamonte Turner has never had a confidence issue and never will, but his shots aren’t falling right now either. Turner posted a 1-7 day from three, going 3-11 from the field.

Without these two cogs in the Tennessee offense, the pressure goes right back to Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams, giving defenses something to really key in on.

  • Turner is 4-23 from deep over his last three games.
  • Bowden is 0-7 from three and 3-17 from the field in the last three contests. He’s made three shots in his last three games combined.

Tennessee doesn’t need these guys to take over games. They don’t need 20 point nights from them. But they need something from these two. Until they get it, you’ll continue to see the offense struggle.