For the first time in a long time, Tennessee was coming off of a loss in conference play. However, they had no issues bouncing back in Columbia tonight against Missouri.
Missouri matched Tennessee in the opening minutes, going toe to toe with the Volunteers to keep things tied at 15 each. Eventually though, the Tennessee offense that we had grown used to seeing over the last several weeks came to play.
Victor Bailey Jr. made a three, then followed that with two more baskets for seven quick points. Kennedy Chandler made a living at the rim to close the second half, pushing Tennessee out to an eight point lead.
What was a close game in the middle of the first half was suddenly a nine point lead at halftime. Kennedy Chandler ended up shooting 6-8 from the floor, scoring for 14 points to lead all scorers at the halftime break.
Tennessee maintained, and stretched that lead after the halftime break.
Chandler drained a three, and Jonas Aidoo connected on an and-one to give Tennessee a quick and comfortable double-digit lead. Kobe Brown and Javon Pickett did what they could to keep Missouri breathing, but the Tennessee offense was proving to be too much.
The Volunteers held a 60-46 lead with 8:46 to play.
Josiah-Jordan James had another slow start in the first half, but he was able to bounce back nicely with nine quick points in the second half, including a couple of three-pointers.
Missouri would get within 12 points, but a Santiago Vescovi three would push it back to 15. Another Vescovi three made it an 18 point game with five minutes to play.
Tennessee handled Cuonzo Martin’s Tigers, 80-61.
It was smooth sailing for Tennessee tonight, which improved to 11-4 in conference play and 20-7 overall. Chandler led the way with 23 points and Vescovi was next with 14 points, shooting 4-6 from three.
The Volunteers will be back in action on Saturday, set to host the third-ranked Auburn Tigers.