How about them Vols? Many (including us) thought they were dead in the water after losing five straight games. Tennessee proved the doubters wrong. They took it to LSU, battled all game and executed their game plan. Here are five observations from the game.
Vols Prove Doubters Wrong: LSU was picked to finish 4th in the SEC and they have several NBA players on their roster. Outside of Kentucky, there wasn’t a worse matchup in the conference, on paper, for the Vols. LSU’s size in the paint and length at guard really bothered the Vols in their earlier meeting. But none of that phased Tennessee. The Vols battled, executed and clawed to a 33-33 score at the half. Tennessee outscored the Tigers by 15 points in the second half on the way to an improbable victory. With the win, the Vols guaranteed at least a .500 regular season record and ended a five game skid.
Richardson Bounces Back: After a seven-point performance against the Gators, Richardson bounced back in a big way. He had 20 points, five rebounds, three assists, five steals and just one turnover in 35 minutes of play. He also shot 60% from the floor and was exceptional defensively.
Moore Owns the Paint: Against LSU the first time, the Vols played timid. Moore made sure that didn’t happen against the Tigers. Going up against several surefire NBA draft picks, Armani Moore didn’t back down. He finished with 19 points (on 9-14 shooting) and added eight rebounds and four assists. He was a big reason the Vols outscored LSU by 16 points in the paint.
Vols Own the Boards, TO Margin: Tennessee outrebounded the Tigers 35-29. You read that correctly. The Vols had more energy than LSU all night and seemingly got every 50-50 ball. Even more impressive, the Vols turned the ball over just seven times against one of the most athletic teams in the nation. For perspective, LSU turned the ball over 11 times which led to a five point advantage for the Vols off turnovers.
Free Throw Disparity Doesn’t Stop the Vols: The Vols didn’t attempt their first free throw until the 8:30 mark in the second half. Tennessee’s first free throw make didn’t come until the 3:12 mark in the game. All told, the Tigers attempted 24 free throws to Tennessee’s seven and outscored the Vols by 14 points at the charity stripe.
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) March 5, 2015