#19 Vols roll to seventh consecutive SEC win, downing Vanderbilt
Published 2:16 am Sunday, February 13, 2022
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CONTRIBUTED BY UT ATHLETICS
KNOXVILLE – Earning its seventh consecutive SEC win and 13th in a row at Thompson-Boling Arena, the No. 19 Tennessee men’s basketball team defeated Vanderbilt, 73-64, Saturday evening.
Tennessee (18-6, 9-3 SEC) got meaningful contributions from all 11 players who saw the floor, each of whom scored for the Big Orange, and held off a ferocious second-half rally from Vanderbilt (13-11, 5-7 SEC) to close out the victory.
The Vols had four players reach double figures, as SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Zakai Zeigler notched a team-high 16 points, Josiah-Jordan James tallied 14, John Fulkerson had 12 and Santiago Vescovi scored 10.
Vescovi was limited to only 21 minutes, his second-lowest run of the year, due to foul trouble in the second half. His impact was immense when he was on the floor, however, as he logged a game-best plus/minus of +21.
James posted his second double-double of the season, pulling down 10 rebounds in addition to his 14 points. The junior guard was strong from the charity stripe, connecting on 9-of-10 from the line.
Thompson-Boling Arena was rocking, with 20,019 filling the stands and making their presence felt. Vol Nation supplied the energy needed to finish out the game, exploding after UT halted Vandy’s run in the second half.
The Tennessee faithful packed more than 20,000 fans inside TBA for the fourth time this season and have played a critical role in Tennessee’s undefeated home record thus far during the 2021-22 season.
Tennessee put together a strong first half on both ends of the floor. The Big Orange used a 9-0 run spanning 3:43 in the back end of the period to gain a 13-point advantage.
The Volunteers’ made an impact with physical play on the boards, out-rebounding the Commodores, 20-15, in the half. Vanderbilt came out firing in the second period, sinking 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc in the first five minutes of the half.
The Commodores brought the score to within two, 61-59, but James sank a pair of free throws and Kennedy Chandler found his offense, connecting on three baskets in a row, to extend the UT lead.
The 8-0 run gave the Vols some much-needed breathing room and they never looked back.
Tennessee welcomes No. 5 Kentucky to Rocky Top at 9 p.m. ET on Tuesday, in front of a sold-out crowd. The game will be broadcast on ESPN in the network’s Super Tuesday spotlight.
ZEIGLER ON A ROLL:
After Saturday’s 16-point effort, SEC Sixth Man of the Year candidate Zakai Zeigler is now averaging 13.7 points over his last six games and has scored in double figures in nine of Tennessee’s 12 SEC games.
PROTECTING HOME COURT:
With Saturday’s win, Tennessee improved to 13-0 at home this season. Dating to last season, the Vols have won 14 straight inside Thompson-Boling Arena.