Tennessee (1-3) almost pulled of a big upset against No. 13 Oregon (3-2), but fell just short, losing 69-65 to the Ducks in overtime.
Here’s five observations from the Vols’ narrow defeat.
Upset Bid Falls Just Short
No. 13 Oregon lost to a struggling Georgetown team to play itself into the Maui loser’s bracket. The Ducks move to 3-2 with the victory over the Vols, having also lost to unranked Baylor before heading to Hawaii.
That said, this would have been a huge win for Rick Barnes’ program.
Tennessee did not shoot the ball well (38%) yet found themselves in an overtime battle with the No. 13 team in the country. Tennessee forced 18 turnovers against Wisconsin on Monday, and lived up to that defensive performance against the Ducks. The Vols forced 21 Oregon giveaways, but their comeback attempt fell short because they couldn’t take care of the ball themselves.
Tennessee turned the ball over 25 times, which lead to 24 Oregon points. Meanwhile, the Vols scored 19 points off Oregon’s giveaways.
The Vols won the rebounding battle without their star center. Tennessee out-rebounded a veteran Oregon team 42-37 with Kyle Alexander only playing seven minutes due to foul trouble.
Freshman point guard Jordan Bone did not play due to a foot injury, so Shembari Phillips played the point for most of the game. Phillips scored four points, all at the free throw line, missing all five of his shots from the field. In order for Tennessee to get over the hump against a good team, Rick Barnes will need more out of the point guard position.
Detrick Mostella Leads the Way Again
For the second straight game, Detrick Mostella was a force offensively for the Vols.
Mostella scored 18 points in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting. Against Wisconsin, Mostella had 12 points in the first half. In the second half, he was held scoreless.
Tuesday was a different story for Mostella, who finished the contest against Oregon with 22 points. Mostella was 8-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-6 from behind the arc. His problem all night was fouls. Mostella fouled out of the game late in the second half.
John Fulkerson Impresses
Freshman John Fulkerson was sensational against Oregon. Fulkerson had a double-double, but was also hurt by fouls late in the game, picking up his fourth with a minute to go in overtime.
Fulkerson took the pressure off of Kyle Alexander, who had two fouls in the first few minutes of the game.
Newcomers did not play well in Tennessee’s opening game in Maui, but behind Fulkerson’s lead, they were better in game two.
Fulkerson played one minute against Wisconsin and didn’t even attempt a shot. With his output, Tennessee looks a lot better. They need more than one post presence, and Fulkerson filled that role on Tuesday.
Admiral Schofield did not play due to a suspension that Rick Barnes did not specify before the game. That gave Fulkerson an opportunity to get more playing time, and he took advantage.
Final stats from a close loss: pic.twitter.com/iJN0JTnDq5
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) November 22, 2016