College Hoops

#4 Tennessee Overpowers Georgia with Relentless Defense in 70-41 Rout

#4 Tennessee Overpowers Georgia with Relentless Defense in 70-41 Rout


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Stifling defense by Tennessee led to its fourth consecutive home victory over Georgia, a decisive 70-41 win in Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night.
 
The Volunteers’ defensive efforts Wednesday were bolstered by Santiago Vescovi’s career-high-tying five steals, as Tennessee held Georgia to just to 29.1 percent (16-55) shooting from the field.
 
Tennessee (17-3, 7-1 SEC), which owns the best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country per KenPom, held an opponent to under 50 points for the 10th time this season, forcing Georgia (13-7, 3-4 SEC) to miss 20 of its 27 field goal attempts in the second half.
 
Offensively, the Vols doubled the Bulldogs in paint points, 36-18. Freshman Julian Phillips logged a career-high six assists Wednesday night, besting his previous best of four, which came in Tennessee’s win over McNeese State earlier this season. Vescovi was responsible for a team-best plus/minus rating of +29 in UT’s 29-point triumph.
 
Tennessee ramped up its defensive intensity as the game progressed, with Georgia scoring 17 points in the first 9:10 of play and only 13 points in next 22:55. Tennessee tallied 25 points off Georgia’s 20 total turnovers Wednesday.

Freshman big Tobe Awaka registered a career-best 10 points, his first time in double-figure scoring as he was successful on each of his four field goal attempts. Awaka added three rebounds in the effort.

 

Georgia led 6-4 at the game’s first media timeout and never led again. A pair of Zakai Zeigler 3-point makes within the next minute sparked a 9-0 Tennessee run. A consistent offensive surge saw the Vols build their first double-digit advantage, using a 16-4 run to take a 33-18 lead with under four minutes remaining in the opening half.

 

Tennessee took a 35-22 into halftime, led by Zeigler’s eight points and a team shooting mark of 43.3 percent from the field. Vescovi’s four first-half steals led the way for the Vols defensively in the opening 20 minutes.

 

Midway through the second half, Georgia suffered a scoring drought of over five minutes in which it committed six turnovers. The Bulldogs were unsuccessful on seven of eight field goal attempts around that span. At the 10-minute mark of the second half, Tennessee’s had increased its lead to a 23-point margin at 53-30.

 

The Bulldogs’ turmoil continued as an Olivier Nkamhoua alley-oop dunk off a Zeigler assist was immediately followed by Georgia’s seventh turnover in as…

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