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Tennessee passes first road test, beats Colorado 69-54

NCAA Basketball: Tennessee at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee took an early punch, but came away with their first true road win of the season on Saturday afternoon.

An 8-0 run to start the game by Colorado was quickly erased by Tennessee. The Volunteers, led by a couple of buckets from Santiago Vescovi, quickly woke up to take the lead for the first time at 11-10.

Kennedy Chandler and John Fulkerson went to work on the pick and roll to power the Tennessee offense early. It was Chandler’s first career road start, but the freshman was unfazed early on. He was able to find three buckets in the paint early, while adding two quick assists to stop the early bleeding.

Tennessee worked to find a 22-19 advantage with five minute to play in the first half, turning Colorado over eight times.

Chandler continued to attack the rim, and found plenty of success. He started 8-11 from the field, as Colorado had no answer for Tennessee’s pick and roll action. Powered by the freshman point guard, Tennessee took a ten point lead into the halftime break, leading 34-24.

Chandler had 16 points in the first half. Colorado’s leading scorer, Jabari Walker, was limited to just six minutes in the first half after picking up two early fouls.

Tristan DaSilva got Colorado started in the second half with a three, but Chandler answered with one of his own. After a lull for a few minutes, Tennessee picked up where they left off. John Fulkerson connected on a layup and a dunk to extend the Volunteers’ lead to 11.

Colorado closed the gap in the middle of the second half. It was K.J. Simpson and Jabari Walker cutting into the Tennessee lead, getting the Buffaloes within five points with ten minutes left to play.

Josiah-Jordan James, returning to action after missing three games, drilled a three out of a timeout with eight minutes to play. Uros Plavsic connected on an easy two to get it back to a ten point lead. Justin Powell nailed a three on the next possession.

It was quickly a 58-45 lead for Tennessee, with 6:47 to play. The Vols were in control, and just needed a solid few minute to close this one out. A Chandler layup followed by a Fulkerson bucket maintained the lead with under five minutes to play.

Evan Battey kept Colorado breathing with 2:15 to play, connecting from the post. But a Santiago Vescovi three ended any hopes the Buffaloes had.

Tennessee went on to win this one, 69-54.

The Volunteers shot 47.5 percent from the field, but held Colorado to just 34.5 percent. Kennedy Chandler led the way for Tennessee with 27 points.

Tennessee will be back in action on Tuesday night, with a game against Texas Tech in New York City.