January 8, 2020 / 2:35 AM / 14 days ago

Balanced Tennessee scoring overcomes Missouri

Jordan Bowden scored 13 points to lead five players in double figures, and Santiago Vescovi (12) and Josiah-Jordan James (11) both scored all of their points in the second half to lift visiting Tennessee past Missouri 69-59 in Southeastern Conference play on Tuesday night in Columbia, Mo.

Jan 7, 2020; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Tennessee Volunteers guard Jalen Johnson (13) dunks during warmups before the game against the Missouri Tigers at Mizzou Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

John Fulkerson, Jalen Johnson and Yves Pons also had 11 points for the Volunteers, who overcame 21 turnovers to earn the victory.

Missouri (8-6) lost its second conference game in as many tries, while Tennessee (9-5) rebounded from Saturday’s loss to Louisiana State to open league play. The Tigers took their final lead at 53-50 with 6:41 to go but had no answer for the 11-0 Tennessee run that followed.

Battling foul trouble throughout the game, Missouri’s leading scorer, Dru Smith, fouled out on a charging call with 5:04 to go and the Tigers trailing 56-53. Vescovi responded with his second 3-pointer in a 40-second span on the ensuing possession en route to scoring eight points in the visitors’ key late spurt.

Tennessee shot 23-for-43 (53.5 percent) from the floor, including 11-for-24 (45.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Tigers closed the game in an 0-for-7 shooting funk en route to a 35.2 percent shooting night overall.

Freshman Tray Jackson paced Missouri with 11 points, while Mitchell Smith had 10 points and seven rebounds. James added seven rebounds for Tennessee, which won the battle under the boards 33-29.

The Volunteers held Missouri scoreless over the final 3:44 of the first half and used their defense — coupled with a 6-0 run — to take a 32-28 lead into the break. Fulkerson scored four points during the spurt, hitting a jumper and a pair of free throws around two Johnson makes from the line.

It was the latest run in a game rife with them. Moments earlier, the Tigers used an 8-0 surge to grab a 28-26 lead with 3:44 to go before halftime.

James and Yves Pons both drilled treys in the first 1:19 of the second half to stretch the Tennessee to 10. The Tigers scored 17 of the game’s next 24 points to tie the game at 45 with 12:02 remaining, setting the stage for a tight finish.

Tennessee, which swept the 2018-19 season series with Missouri, took a 9-7 lead against the Tigers all-time. Volunteers coach Rick Barnes improved to 15-9 against Missouri in his career while pulling to within three victories of 100 with Tennessee.

—Field Level Media

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