After a slow start to the night, the Vols ended up putting a beat down on Mississippi State at home in Thompson-Boling Arena, rolling to a 91-74 victory over the Bulldogs.
Tennessee (10-9, 3-4 SEC) ripped off 54 points in the second half and led for almost the entire half. Mississippi State (12-6, 3-3) jumped out to a 38-37 advantage to start the half, then it was all Vols after that point.
The win comes just days after the Vols collapsed on the road against Ole Miss, losing 80-69 despite taking a double digit lead in the second half. The Vols wouldn’t repeat that blunder in this one, and they get back in the win column with a date with Kentucky next up on the schedule.
Here are three observations from the Vols’ impressive victory over Mississippi State.
Tennessee Lights Up the Second Half
After an ugly beginning to the game, the Vols rolled all over the Bulldogs in the second half. Tennessee managed 37 points on 38.9 percent shooting in the first half, but the offense exploded for 54 points and shot 54.8 percent from the court in the second half.
The Vols started the game missing their first seven field goal attempts, but they recovered and shot 46.3 percent for the game after their hot second half.
Tennessee’s offense as a whole played one of their more efficient games of the season, turning the ball over just seven times while dishing out 20 assists on 31 made field goals. The majority of those assists came in the second half, as the Vols totaled 12 assists and committed just three turnovers the entire second half.
Size Didn’t Matter
Despite once again being out-matched in the height department, the Vols managed to hustle their way to out-rebounding and nearly out-scoring the Bulldogs in the paint.
Mississippi State started two players who measured in at 6-foot-10, but it was Tennessee who ended up with more total rebounds, offensive rebounds, and tied the Bulldogs with points in the paint. The Vols grabbed 49 total rebounds including 19 offensive rebounds, and those boards led to 14 second chance points for the Vols. Mississippi State managed just 35 total rebounds and nine offensive boards. Both schools totaled 38 points in the paint.
Vols Show Off Depth
Robert Hubbs led the Vols in scoring with 19 points, but it wasn’t just a one man show for Tennessee. The Vols’ bench dumped in 28 points, and four Vols ended up in double figures in scoring.
Admiral Schofield fouled out in the second half, but he finished with 15 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. Lamonte Turner added eight points and six assists in 18 minutes off the bench.
The other Vols that joined Hubbs and Schofield in double digit scoring were Grant Williams (17 points) and Jordan Bowden (14 points). As a whole, Tennessee shot 41.2 percent from three, hitting seven of their 12 shots.