The Tennessee Volunteers, picked to finish 13th in the 14 team SEC, are 11-5 (3-1 in the SEC) and sitting at second in the SEC’s standings after a 59-51 road win over Missouri. Tennessee is now 2-0 on the road in the SEC for the first time since 2009. Here are five observations plus stats and video highlights from the game.
Armani Moore’s Double-Double: Without a doubt, Armani Moore was the player of the game. He scored 15 points on 6-8 shooting and pulled in 11 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Moore scored 29 combined points against Arkansas and Missouri – he scored just eight points against Mississippi State and Alabama last week. The Vols are a different team when Moore attacks the bucket – he was 12-16 from the floor this week and grabbed 19 rebounds…and the Vols went 2-0 in those games. That’s not a coincidence.
Punter Gets on Track: Kevin Punter, who played two years of junior college basketball in Missouri and was initially committed to the Tigers, entered the game in a 1-15 shooting slump. He scored 12 points on 3-8 shooting, made a couple of big shots from beyond the arc and iced the game with four straight makes from the charity stripe. Since missing two free throws late against Arkansas, he’s 8-8 from the free throw line.
Free Throws Key: Missed free throws nearly cost the Vols the victory against No. 19 Arkansas on Tuesday but made free throws sealed the win for Tennessee against the Tigers. The Volunteers were 18-20 from the charity stripe, where they outscored the Tigers by 15, and were 13-14 from the line in the second half. Defending Missouri without fouling plus converting opportunities from the line proved to offset Missouri’s 15 point advantage at the 3-point line.
Three Straight Forced TOs: Coming out of a media timeout with the game tied at 3:36 to play, the Vols forced three straight Missouri turnovers and converted those into two layups and a dunk on the way to a six point lead. Tyndall and his staff deserve credit for making all the right tweaks late in the game. That stretch sealed it for the Vols.
Vols Win Turnover and Board Battles: Tennessee beat the Tigers 37-33 on the boards and outscored them 15-10 off turnovers. No one can question Tennessee’s effort and Saturday’s contest with Missouri was no exception. Robert Hubbs III was an aggressive 2-8 from the floor – though his shot wasn’t falling, he grabbed eight massive rebounds. Donnie Tyndall has emphasized rebounding with Hubbs all year and Hubbs really came through in that area against Missouri. Derek Reese was also big with eight rebounds and 10 points. Also of note: Josh Richardson’s shot was off (2-9) but he had four assists and zero turnovers.
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) January 18, 2015