Three Observations from Tennessee’s 81-58 Win Over Georgia Tech

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    Photo Credit: Nick Davis/RTI

    Photo Credit: Nick Davis/RTI

    Tennessee (3-3) dominated Georgia Tech (4-3) on Saturday, defeating Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets 81-58.

    UT’s freshmen shined against a Georgia Tech team who beat the Vols by two points in Atlanta last year. Here’s three observations from the Vols’ win:

    Fulkerson and Williams Dominate the Paint

    John Fulkerson and Grant Williams matched up with players who were taller and more experienced. But you couldn’t tell.

    Fulkerson tallied 12 points, Williams added 14.

    Going up against Ben Lammers and Quinton Stephens was  no easy task for these two, but they went right after the talented forwards. Williams is not scared of any defender who tries to guard him. When he’s matched up with a much larger forward, the defender has to respect Williams’ ability to pull up and shoot.

    Fulkerson’s motor is relentless, especially when he has Kyle Alexander to back him up off the bench. In addition to his solid offensive play, Fulkerson grabbed eight rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over.

    Despite their size disadvantage, Fulkerson and Williams are tough to stop down low.

    Elite Defensive Performance

    Tennessee put together its best defensive performance of the season against the Yellow Jackets.

    At halftime, Georgia Tech was shooting 24% from the field and 57% from 3-point range. Tennessee’s interior defense was dominant, forcing Tech to settle for outside shots. The Yellow Jackets would finish the game shooting 5-for-12 from 3, after making three of their first four.

    Tech turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, which is really what put this game out of reach in the first half. The Vols finished the game with 20 points off 18 Yellow Jacket turnovers.

    Phillips Shines at the Point

    Saturday’s game marked Shembari Phillips’ first start at point guard this season, and he made the most of it. Phillips scored 14 points and added 7 assists, running the offense effectively.

    In Jordan Bone’s absence with a stress fracture, Tennessee needs Phillips to step up. He scored often, but looked to pass first, showing his maturation from his first year on campus. When he did shoot, it usually went in. Phillips was 4-for-5 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3 and 4-for-4 from the free throw line.

    When Lamonte Turner was on the court, Phillips slid over to shooting guard, where he scored most of his points.