Admiral Schofield started the scoring off with a bucket off a Lamonte Turner pass for the 2-0 lead, but a Javon Pickett three-pointer gave the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Tennessee was able to regain the lead for a short amount of time, but Missouri wouldn’t quit.
Consecutive layups from Kevin Puryear and Xavier Pinson gave the lead back to the Tigers. They lead 7-5 with 15:52 left in the first half.
Both teams continued to battle back and forth as the game went on. Pickett continued to make shots, helping the Tigers keep the lead until a three-pointer from Schofield and a layup from Grant Williams gave the Vols the lead, 18-17 with 11:10 remaining.
Missouri tried to keep, but Tennessee would go on an 18-2 run and led 31-19 with 3:56 left in the first half.
Tennessee was able to record its sixth block of the first half, but couldn’t make the bucket on the following possession. Fortunately, the defense stepped up, forcing the fourth Missouri turnover of the half.
The Tigers’ Jordan Geist then hit a three-pointer to make it 31-23. An offensive foul on Jordan Bone led to a Pickett three-pointer that cut the Vols’ lead to 31-25.
All of a sudden, it was a game again.
The Vols resonded with a 4-0 run, but Geist kept the Tigers in the game with another three and Mizzou closed the half on a 12-6 run. Missouri cut Tennessee’s lead to 37-31 heading into halftime.
Missouri’s six-point lead was intriguing, considering the fact that the Tigers shot 38.2-percent compared to the Vols’ 52.0-percent for the first half. The Tigers also made just 4/12 three-pointers and 1⁄2 free throws, compared to the Vols’ 2/7 from three and 9/9 from the stripe.
It’s not like the Tigers were outperforming the Vols in any specific category. It would be interesting to see how Tennessee handled another team playing above its season average.
The key to the second half would be containing Tilmon. Could Rick Barnes find a way to keep him down?
Puryear was a problem starting off, but Tilmon followed up soon after. The Vols were able to make plays, but led 39-35.
An assist from Schofield to Williams ignited a 9-0 run. Tennessee led, 48-35, but a scary moment occurred when a Missouri defender rolled up on Schofield’s ankle. Schofield was seen rolling around on the court in pain, but was able to walk off the court. He was soon declared fine would re-enter the game soon after the scare.
Both teams traded buckets and foul shots, but the Vols still led 53-40 with 13:46 left in the game.
Missour was able to go on a 8-3 run, but consecutive misses left the Vols without a chance to get the lead back to double digits. Williams did just let that, making an layup to make it 58-48 with 7:35 left.
Tilmon would later go out with a knee injury, leaving the Tigers without an offensive option. The Vols would take advantage of the injury and go on to finish with a 72-60 win over the Tigers. It’s the first time they’ve started 9-0 in conference play.
The Vols have now won 17 straight games and are now 21-1 on the season. They host Florida in Thompson Boling Arena on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4PM EST.