No. 8 Tennessee logs dominant win over Vanderbilt

No. 8 Tennessee logs dominant win over Vanderbilt


7 hours ago Tennessee Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee men’s basketball team turned in a resounding 88-53 victory Saturday night at a sold-out Food City Center to complete a season sweep of its in-state foe, Vanderbilt, for the sixth time in the past seven campaigns.

No. 8/9 Tennessee (19-6, 9-3 SEC) never trailed the Commodores and led by as many as 41 points, including by 31 at halftime. All five starters scored between 11 and 14 points for the victors, with none playing even 25 minutes in the team’s second win this week by 29-plus.

The Volunteers stormed out to a 13-3 edge through four minutes, as they made their first five field goals and scored 10 straight points in just 1:57. Tennessee soon used another 11-0 surge in 2:58 to spark a 20-1 extended run over 7:19, taking full control of contest by claiming a 35-8 edge with 6:38 on the ticker.

At that time, the Volunteers were 14-of-25 from the floor and 5-of-10 on 3-pointers. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt (7-18, 2-10 SEC) started just 3-of-17, including 1-of-9 from deep, and went over eight minutes without a made field goal.

Tennessee stretched its advantage all the way to 51-20 at the break, as fifth-year guard Santiago Vescovi, who surpassed 1,500 collegiate points in the triumph, hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer. The Volunteers’ 31-point halftime margin marked their largest SEC play since Jan. 6, 1999, and their top total in any contest since Nov. 14, 2017. In addition, it matched the seventh-largest halftime edge for any SEC team in league action in at least the last 28 seasons (1996-2024).

The onslaught by the home team continued in the second half, as the Volunteers upped their edge to 40 points, 70-30, with 12:12 to go. The lead twice went up to 41, the latter occasion at 73-32 with 10:42 to play, shortly after which Vanderbilt went on a 10-0 run in 1:43 to get it down to 31 with 8:21 left.

The Commodores, though, never got their deficit below 30 in the second half, as Tennessee soon went on a 7-0 run in just 69 seconds to go back up by 38, 86-48, with 4:18 to go. The Volunteers ultimately claimed their fifth 35-point decision in SEC play in the last 24 seasons (2000-24).

Junior guard Zakai Zeigler recorded a co-team-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including a 4-of-5 clip from long range, to go along with a co-game-best five assists. Fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht tied Zeigler in both the points and assists column, logging 14 and five, respectively, with the latter one shy of his career high.

Fifth-year guard Josiah-Jordan James put up 13 points, seven rebounds and a game-high three steals, finishing 5-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-5 on 3-pointers. Vescovi totaled 12 points on a 4-of-5 long-range clip and he matched both Zeigler and Knecht with a season-high-tying five assists.

Junior forward Jonas Aidoo compiled 11 points and a game-leading eight rebounds, while sophomore forward Tobe Awaka had nine points and freshman guard Cameron Carr scored a career-high eight.

For the second game in a row, Tennessee allowed only one double-digit scorer, with sophomore forward Ven-Allen Lubin leading the Commodores with 10 points. No one else had even nine in the setback.

The Volunteers ended the night 33-of-69 (47.8 percent) from the floor and 14-of-31 (45.2 percent) beyond the arc. At the other end, they limited Vanderbilt to 18-of-54 (33.3 percent) and 7-of-25 (28.0 percent) respective clips.

In addition, Tennessee registered a 33-8 edge in point off turnovers, a 25-9 margin in fast-break points and a 30-16 cushion in paint points. Furthermore, it amassed a season-best 28 assists and just seven turnovers, while allowing eight assists and forcing 19 giveaways.

Tennessee now heads to Columbia, Mo., where it takes on Missouri, live on SEC Network, Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET at Mizzou Arena.

To keep up with the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team on social media, follow @Vol_Hoops on Instagram and X/Twitter, as well as /tennesseebasketball on Facebook.


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