Tennessee dropped another close one on the road Saturday afternoon after the Georgia Bulldogs survived a frantic final possession to hold on to a 56-53 win. Tennessee drops to 13-9 on the season. The Vols are 3-2 on the road but 5-0 against the spread.
After losing four of their last five games, Tennessee’s tournament hopes are fading quickly. Tuesday night, the Vols travel to Nashville to take on the Vanderbilt Commodores (9 pm, SEC Network) in a game Tennessee desperately needs to win to claw back into bubble talk.
Here are five observations from the game.
Vol Bigs Struggle: Derek Reese, Willie Carmichael and Tariq Owens all struggled. Collectively, they tallied seven points, four rebounds and seven fouls in 47 minutes of play. Tennessee doesn’t need a ton of production from those three, but they definitely need more than that.
Richardson Shoots 8%: Josh Richardson, fresh off a career high 30 points Tuesday night, went 1-13 from the floor and didn’t score until the final 31 seconds of the game. It’s almost unfathomable that the Vols were even within striking distance late in this one without Richardson’s normal production.
Turnovers Keep Vols in It: Like Tuesday, Tennessee won the turnover battle. A season-high 20 Georgia turnovers led to 20 Vol points. Tennessee took care of the basketball as well, committing just eight turnovers. Against Mississippi State and Georgia, the Vols were a combined +16 in the turnover category. That, in part, led to another crazy stat: the Vols attempted 44 more field goals than their opponents this week, but went 0-2. Tyndall’s Vols played hard and used their athleticism in passing lanes to bother the Bulldogs (x2), but it just wasn’t enough to overcome their other shortcomings.
Georgia Limits Vol 2nd Chances: The Bulldogs entered the game as the best rebounding team in SEC play and they continued that trend against the Vols. Georgia won the rebounding battle 31-25 – which isn’t an enormous difference, but they limited the Vols to just five second chance points. Tennessee leads the conference in offensive rebounding percentage. When Georgia surrendered an offensive board, they did a nice job of making sure those boards weren’t converted into points.
Moore, Hubbs Carry Vols: Josh Richardson carried the Vols against Mississippi State but didn’t get much help from his supporting cast. Against Georgia, Hubbs (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Moore (16 points, 4 rebounds) carried the team but they didn’t get any help from Richardson. It’s been that kind of season for the Vols. They’ve come perilously close to a couple of big road wins in SEC play – having 3-point attempts to tie games with Georgia and Arkansas in the waning moments – but things just haven’t quite come together. This team has an extremely small margin for error and has to be clicking on all cylinders to beat anyone. They need to get back on the same page before traveling to Nashville on Tuesday.
Final stats: pic.twitter.com/ymBvZqOec2
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) February 7, 2015