The No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers (5-0) made sure to keep its undefeated season going with a 102-66 win over the winless St. Joseph’s Hawks (0-5). Victor Bailey Jr. led the team with 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting and the Vols scored 100+ points in back-to-back games for the first time since 2006.
Bailey started the game off with a bucket to put the Vols up, 2-0, but Jordan Hall’s 3-pointer gave St. Joe’s its first lead of the game. The lead didnt last long. however, as Santiago Vescovi found Yves Pons on the alley-oop to put Tennessee back in the lead by a point.
The Hawks tied it at four apiece, but the Vols would go on a 16-0 run over the next 4:00 to take a 20-4 lead until Taylor Funk’s 3 halted the run and cut Tennessee’s lead to 13 with 13:49 left in the first half. Tennessee was 8-of-12 from the floor during the run.
The Vols’ defense was playing well and the offense was efficient. UT maintained its double-digit lead and it even grew to as much as 18 points over the next 3:00. Tennessee’s lead eventually grew to 36-15 with 9:23 left in the first half.
That lead increased all the way to 22 points as the Vols led, 42-20, but St. Joe’s was able to put together a few minutes of good play and went on an 8-2 run to make it a 44-28 game with around 3:30 to play in the second half. The Vols were hitting their shots at around a 57% clip while the Hawks were around 37%, but 10 turnovers are what really killed the Hawks up until this point.
Bailey hit a 3 to put Tennessee up 56-31, which was its biggest lead of the game, but the Hawks were able to cash in one last time before halftime and make it a 56-33 contest.
Bailey led the team with 13 points, Pons led the team with six rebounds, Vescovi led the team in efficiency, and John Fulkerson led the team with four assists. Tennessee was shooting 60% from beyond the arc. So far, everything was going to plan.
Tennessee picked right up where it left off and drilled a 3 on its second possession of the first half to push the Vols’ lead to 59-33. Tennessee continued to dominate and the lead even climbed all the way to 84-53 with 7:38 to go.
The Hawks never even came close to closing the gap. In fact, Tennessee continued to dominate and would go on to win the game, 102-66.
The Vols would end up shooting a little over 48% from the field, which included a 39% mark from downtown. St. Joe’s shot just 39% on the night thanks to tough Tennessee defense that didn’t allow many easy opportunities. Tennessee also had 12 assists on the night and forced 18 Hawk turnovers.
Tennessee will host the USC Upstate Spartans in Thompson-Boling Arena on Wednesday, December 23. Tipoff is currently set for 5PM EST.