Hoops Central: #3 Tennessee vs. Tennessee Tech

Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — No. 3 Tennessee will look to extend its six-game winning streak Saturday, as the Vols host Tennessee Tech in Thompson-Boling Arena in their final game before beginning SEC play.

The game will tip at 1 p.m. ET and will be broadcasted online through SEC Network+ WatchESPN. Fans can listen live on their local Vol Network affiliate to hear Bob Kesling and Bert Bertelkamp describing the action. Tickets for most remaining Tennessee home games are available at AllVols.com.

Tennessee (10-1) holds a 23-1 all-time record against the Golden Eagles, winning the last seven meetings in a series that began in 1939. Having already played Memphis this season, UT is 10-4 against in-state opponents under head coach Rick Barnes, including wins in each of its last four games.

Tennessee Tech had to replace all five of its top scorers from a season ago. The Golden Eagles have played in some hostile environments already this season, facing Memphis, Michigan State and North Carolina all on the road. After a tough start, the Golden Eagles have won three of their last four games, dropping at least 90 points in each of those outings.

The Vols enter the game on the heels of an 83-64 victory over Wake Forest. Grant Williams recorded his fourth double-double of the season with a game-high 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kyle Alexander made his first seven baskets of the game and finished the night with a career-high 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting to go along with eight rebounds to help UT improve its record against ACC foes to 3-0 on the season.

THE SERIES
• Tennessee leads the all-time series with Tennessee Tech 23-1, dating to 1939. The Vols have won seven straight over the Eagles.
• Despite meeting 24 times previously, Tennessee has only been ranked for one of those games.
• The Vols are 57-2 all-time against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference.

A WIN WOULD…
• Extend Tennessee’s win streak to seven games.
• Extend UT’s home win streak to 16 games. It’s the longest such streak of the Barnes era.
• Preserve Tennessee’s perfect record this season at Thompson-Boling Arena.

STORYLINES
• Over their last three games, the Vols are averaging 89.3 points while shooting .544 as a team.
• Tennessee is 10-4 against in-state opponents under head coach Rick Barnes, including wins in each of its last four.
• Tennessee is off to its best 11-game start since also starting the season 10-1 in 2007-08.
• With an average attendance of 16,378, Tennessee ranks sixth nationally.
• During his 32 seasons as a head coach, Rick Barnes has guided his teams to 106 total weeks in the top 10.
• Just a single vote separates the Vols from No. 2 Michigan in this week’s AP poll.
• Many UT students are gone during this holiday break. Tickets for most remaining Tennessee home games are available at AllVols.com.

LAYUPS
• Grant Williams leads the SEC in scoring (19.6 ppg), ranks second in field-goal percentage (.563), fourth in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and seventh in assists (3.8 apg). He also owns the team’s best plus-minus (per 40) rating at +20.60
• Admiral Schofield is the SEC’s second-leading scorer (18.4 ppg).
• Jordan Bone has logged 71 minutes over UT’s last two games and has totaled 42 points, 16 assists and only three turnovers while also shooting .613 during that span.
• Senior forward Kyle Alexander is coming off a career-high 19 points last Saturday vs. Wake Forest, and he’s averaging double-digit scoring for the first time in his career (10.5 ppg).
• Guard Lamonté Turner remains sidelined with a left shoulder injury and has appeared in only three games this season.

ABOUT TENNESSEE TECH
• Tennessee plays its second non-conference game against an in-state school Saturday, hosting Tennessee Tech. The two schools are separated by just 102 miles.
• The matchup marks the first meeting between the Vols and Golden Eagles since 2016, a 74-68 Big Orange victory. UT holds a 23-1 advantage in the series all time.
• The Golden Eagles (4-8) had to replace all five of their top scorers from a season ago, a group that accounted for 82.8 percent of the team’s total scoring.
• Micaiah Henry leads Tech in scoring (12.3 ppg), shooting percentage (.670) and blocks (22) while also ranking second in rebounding (5.5 rpg).
• Along with Henry, the Golden Eagles boast three other scorers who average double-digits each game: Hunter Vick Jr. (11.7 ppg), Jr. Clay (11.4 ppg) and Malik Martin (11.3 ppg).
• Tennessee Tech has played in some hostile environments already this season, facing Memphis, Michigan State and North Carolina all on the road. After a tough start, the Golden Eagles have won three of their last four games, dropping at least 90 points in each of those outings.

LAST MEETING VS. TENNESSEE TECH
• Robert Hubbs III scored 25 points to lead the Tennessee basketball team to a 74-68 win over in-state foe Tennessee Tech Dec. 13, 2016, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
• The win moved Tennessee’s all-time record to 23-1 against the Golden Eagles and extended UT’s home win streak to four games.
• Hubbs finished the day with 25 points, seven rebounds and went 5-of-5 from the free-throw line. Lamonté Turner added 16 points, going 5-of-9 from the field and dishing out four assists.
• SEC Freshman of the Week Jordan Bowden had nine points, seven of which came in the second half and included back-to-back dunks. Shembari Phillips also tallied nine points and led the team in assists with five.
• Tennessee dominated under the basket, out-rebounding the Golden Eagles 39-31 and scoring 36 of their 74 points in the paint.
• The Vols got off to a quick start, jumping out to a 10-3 lead. Turner again had a hot hand, starting out 4-of-4 from behind the arc. Tennessee took a 43-25 lead into halftime.
• Down by as many as 22 early in the second half, Tennessee Tech went on a 16-3 run to cut the deficit to seven with 7:08 to go in the game, capitalizing on a six-minute stretch in which Tennessee was held without a field goal and turned the ball over eight times.
• Tennessee built its lead back up to 10 before the Golden Eagles rallied back to within four at the 27-second mark, but a pair of Hubbs free throws put the game out of reach.

TECH ROSTER BOASTS SEVERAL WITH EAST TENNESSEE TIES
• Tennessee Tech’s roster features several players from East Tennessee, including freshmen Jr. Clay (Chattanooga; McCallie School), Chase Ridenour (Knoxville; Webb School), Spencer Chandler (Clinton; Anderson County), sophomore Maverick Smith (Oakdale; Oakdale) and junior Tyler Thompson (Kingston; Roane County).

VOLS SUCCESSFUL ON THE IN-STATE CIRCUIT
• Tennessee has won its last four games against in-state opponents and is 10-4 vs. in-state foes under coach Rick Barnes.
• Those 10 wins include triumphs over ETSU (twice), Tennessee State, Vanderbilt (three times), Tennessee Tech, Lipscomb (twice) and Memphis.

 

UT Athletics

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