The Vols improved to 8-4 (7-0 at home) this season with a 71-61 win over a hot shooting ETSU. Tennessee trailed 13-0 in the opening minutes of the game before battling back to a one point lead at the half. Donnie Tyndall hasn’t lost a home regular season game against a non-conference foe in 1,117 days. Here are five takeaways from the game.
Moore Does it All: Junior forward Armani Moore flirted with a triple-double against ETSU while recording his second career double-double – 13 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists. Moore, Tennessee’s leading rebounder this season, is thriving under Tyndall. Moore isn’t just on the way to a career year, he already has one – he recorded more points, assists and rebounds through 12 games this season than he posted in 33 games last year and 30 games the year prior.
Hubbs Improving: Could the talented sophomore guard be finding his form? Robert Hubbs III scored just 1 combined point in 29 minutes of play against Butler, NC State and Tennessee Tech. In the three games since, he’s averaging 9.3 points per game and is shooting 50% from the floor. Perhaps more importantly, he’s also contributing in other ways. He had four assists against ETSU and five rebounds against Tennessee State. Those are exactly the kind of performances UT needs from Hubbs moving forward.
3’s for Days: It should come as no surprise that ETSU shot well from 3-point range – they entered the game ranked 9th nationally in 3-point shooting percentage (41%). The Bucs shot, you guessed it, 41% (13-32) from deep and outscored the Vols by 24 from 3-point range. Rashawn Rembert was 6-9 from 3 in the first half but was just 1-2 beyond the arc in the final period.
Reese’s Career Day: Vol forward Derek Reese tied a career high with 12 points on 5-6 shooting to go along with five rebounds. He committed zero turnovers in a career high 32 minutes of play. Tyndall played Reese and Carmichael over Owens, who did not play because Tyndall wanted more size in the post against ETSU.
Team Basketball on Display: The Vols recorded 19 assists on 26 made baskets and really moved the ball well. Tyndall called Tennessee’s offense “a work in progress” after the game, and, though he’s right, it’s clear that “progress” is being made on that side of the ball as players are settling into their roles and into Tyndall’s system. It’s worth noting that Tennessee ranks 53rd out of 351 teams in offensive efficiency per KenPom.com. That’s impressive for a young team adapting to a new system.
Final Stats: pic.twitter.com/7Gm9Pl5paE
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) December 31, 2014