... and exhale ...
It’s reasonable to assume any game in the NCAA Tournament will be close, but I imagine a lot of Tennessee fans were hoping this one wouldn’t be such a struggle.
Tennessee won, 77-70, but Colgate didn’t go quietly. The Vols were outscored 40-35 in the second half and let a 12-point halftime lead dwindle down to a two-point deficit before slowing pulling away from the Raiders at the end. Here’s a few quick-hitter-like observations from the game.
The thorn in Tennessee’s side all season nearly caused the Vols to bleed out against the Colgate. The Raiders nailed 15 of of 29 3’s against Tennessee -- the 15 makes is a season-high in 3-pointers allowed for the Vols, and the 51.7 percent is the third-highest percentage from 3 that Tennessee has allowed this season.
This makes two-straight games in which Tennessee has given up more than 50 percent shooting from beyond the 3-point line, and it’s fourth-straight game in which the Vols have given up at least a 45-percent mark from deep.
Jordan Burns scorched the Vols with eight 3-pointers and 32 total points. Burns was the best player -- for either team -- on the floor today.
It wasn’t back-to-back SEC Player of the Year Grant Williams’ best performance. Williams had just nine points on seven shots to go with seven rebounds and 3 assists. He also had three fouls and two turnovers.
Possibly the most troubling stat of the day -- Williams only shot two free throws. Sure, the 3-2 zone gave Tennessee some problems, and it looked like Colgate was doubling Williams when he had the ball and also shading him with a nearby defender when he didn’t have the ball, but everything defensively Tennessee and Williams saw today has been seen before.
When Williams is stymied in the low post, Tennessee needs to get him the ball in the high post. Give him the ball at the elbow, and let him make plays from there.
I don’t think Tennessee wins another game in this tournament if Grant Williams is as ineffective as he was today. The Vols have to get the big fella goin’.
The Other Guys
Jordan Bone, Jordan Bowden, Lamonte Turner and Admiral Schofield combined for 62 of Tennessee’s 77 points.
Turner had one of his best games of the season. In the second half, his defense was pesky and persistent, and overall, his stat line looks exactly how you want it to look: two 3’s, 16 points, six assists, three steals and zero turnovers.
Admiral, always one for theatrics, nailed two free throws and two 3-pointers inside the final two minutes of the game. He hit all three of his 3’s in the second half and provided a timely boost for Tennessee when they needed it most.
Today was the fifth-straight double-digit scoring game for Bone and the 12th time he’s scored at least 10 points in the last 15 games.