Cleaning the Glass: Tennessee

Jan. 9, 2018

By Zac Ellis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt’s first meeting with rival Tennessee in 2018 didn’t go the way the Commodores wanted.

Vanderbilt led by 10 points at halftime, but it couldn't withstand a revitalized Tennessee after the break, falling to the Vols, 92-84, at Memorial Gym on Tuesday.

Here’s how it went down:

THE SKINNY: Vanderbilt came out cold in the early goings of the first half. The Dores let Tennessee build an early five-point lead before finding their groove midway through the period. They hit seven straight shots and found themselves tied with the Vols, 18-18, at 11:19. But Vanderbilt ended the half with hot hands: Riley LaChance’s 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Dores eight treys in the first 20 minutes and a 45-35 lead at the break. However, Tennessee found its own stride after intermission, shooting 60 percent from the field and riding a monster game from Grant Williams in the post. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt’s own offense struggled to match that second-half intensity down the stretch. 

TURNING POINT: Tennessee’s Grant Williams punched in a layup at 12:45 in the second half to give UT its first lead of the second half, 57-56. Williams’ bucket capped a 10-0 run that quieted a rowdy crowd and set the tone for the rest of the game in the Vols’ favor.

IMPACT PLAYER: Tennessee’s Grant Williams. Against Vanderbilt, the 6-5 sophomore played much bigger than his listed height. Williams recorded a career-high with 37 points on 12-20 shooting, chipping in seven rebounds. The second-year player scored 20 of those points in the second half and finished 13-15 from the free-throw line. The Dores simply had no answer for Williams in the post.

STARTLING STAT: 57 – Tennessee’s second-half points. After trailing 45-35 at the break, the Vols found their shots in the final 20 minutes. They hit 17-28 field goals in the second half, including 6-8 on 3-pointers.

WHAT IT MEANS: Vanderbilt drops its second straight SEC game and falls to 1-3 in conference play. Tennessee improves to 2-2 in SEC action.

WHAT’S NEXT: Vanderbilt hosts Kentucky on Saturday at Memorial Gym. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. CT on SEC Network.

Zac Ellis is the Writer and Digital Media Editor for Vanderbilt Athletics.


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