KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Even on a depressing taking pictures night time, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes is satisfied that the photographs will fall ultimately.
The 18th-ranked volunteers hit solely 37% of their photographs from the sector – and 16% from 3-pointers – however nonetheless got here away with a 56-53 victory over Mississippi State on Tuesday night time.
“If our guys take good photographs, I can ‘t fear about how we shoot,” Barnes mentioned. ” The factor is: Are you able to win when you don’t shoot? ”
Yves Pons scored 13 factors to steer the win in Tennessee (11-3, 5-3 Southeastern Convention). He was a essential power within the first half for the Vols after which struck a few photographs late within the second half when the Bulldogs (9-8, 4-5), who managed to shoot 33%, had the sport tied.
“This was a should win,” mentioned Pons.
Within the closing 2:30 of the sport, with Pons eradicated, it was rookie Keon Johnson who scored 4 of his eight factors, whereas taking an essential cost foul, to seal the victory for Tennessee.
“I instructed our guys earlier than the sport, ‘I don’t care the way you get it achieved, however it’s a must to get it achieved,'” Barnes mentioned.
Mississippi State was led by Iverson Molinar with 16 factors and DJ Stewart with 11. Abdul Ado had 12 rebounds and Quinten Submit pulled down 10 when the Bulldogs dominated the boards, 42-30.
The Bulldogs had simply three baskets within the closing 12 minutes of the sport.
“We simply couldn’t get the massive shot once we wanted it,” mentioned Ben Howland, coach of the Mississippi State. ” We have performed our greatest workforce protection within the final two video games (losses to SEC title challengers Alabama and Tennessee). We had an opportunity to win them each alongside the best way. ”
After main by three at halftime, Tennessee struggled to make it by means of the second half of the Mississippi State. Midway by means of the second half, the Bulldogs went on an interior basket from Ado, 41-38. The lead didn’t final lengthy when Pons responded with a few baskets.
Tennessee’s lead at halftime 26-23 was the product of an early dash by the Vols.
Eight minutes into the sport, Mississippi State had simply 4 factors. Pons had 5 factors and Tennessee received a 15-4 benefit.
Then, within the final ten minutes of the primary half, the Vols managed simply two area targets.
Stewart led the Bulldogs’ restoration and scored 9 factors. Mississippi State tied the sport at 20 with simply over 5 minutes to play when Ado scored from the underside down.
Three free throws by Tennessee novice Jaden Springer, who was again after lacking the final two video games with an ankle damage, then gave a 3-pointer by Santiago Vescovi Vols some respiration house.
ADJUSTING HIS GAME
Tennessee graduate pupil John Fulkerson, a essential inside presence for the Vols, has been struggling just lately.
Towards a really bodily crew of massive males within the state of Mississippi, Fulkerson, a slim 6-foot-9, had solely 4 factors and 4 rebounds.
“(Fulkerson) has to regulate his recreation,” Barnes mentioned. ” (He) can play with extra energy. One way or the other we now have to in some way get him to go. ”
THE WHOLE PICTURE
Mississippi State: High quality SEC victories over Missouri and Florida have helped the Bulldogs with credibility across the league. The way it performs out within the common season’s dwelling stretch will probably be fascinating.
Tennessee: It is essential for the Vols to discover a strategy to cease the bleeding and discover the troll they’d earlier within the season. Changing into a newbie Jaden Springer (ankle) wholesome and again within the lineup will go a great distance to try this.
Mississippi State: Bulldogs depart the convention gate of the convention to be a part of the SEC / Massive 12 Problem. They’ll entertain Iowa State Saturday.
Tennessee: Two weeks in the past, it could have been a top-10 match between Vols and Kansas. However Tennessee suffered a few setbacks and the Jayhawks have misplaced three in a row and brought the shine of Saturday’s recreation in Knoxville.
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