3 Observations From Tennessee’s 70-58 Win over Kansas State

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    Photo Credit: Nick Davis/RTI

    For the second time in a week, Tennessee pulled off a big win against a Wildcats team favored on the road.

    UT (12-9, 4-4 SEC) rose to the occasion once again, defeating Kansas State (15-6, 4-4 Big 12) by a final score of 70-58.

    Here’s three takeaways from the Vols’ win:

    No Kentucky Letdown

    After a statement win over No. 4 Kentucky on Tuesday, it would’ve been easy for Tennessee to come out flat against Kansas State. But the Vols showed the same energy and grit that helped them knock off the Wildcats.

    Tennessee out-rebounded Kansas State 43-29, including 16 offensive boards to Kansas State’s seven. UT was the more physical team from the start of the game. Rick Barnes’ team never trailed.

    “Tennessee is coming off their third home game in a row, and they play their butts off. They really killed us inside,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said after the game. “I was kind of hoping they’d have a letdown a little bit. Rick’s done a nice job.”

    The Vols picked up right where they left off on Tuesday, and their lead was never really in danger in the second half. Like Kentucky, Kansas State had a hard time shooting the ball. K-State shot 31% from 3-point range and 40% from the field. The Vols weren’t much better, shooting 36% from 3 and 45% from the floor.

    You have to give credit to Rick Barnes for having his team prepared for a tough week. The Vols pulled off two big upsets in just a few days, maybe giving themselves a small glimpse of the NCAA Tournament bubble.

    There was no letdown for Robert Hubbs either. After scoring 25 points against Kentucky, the senior only had 10 points against K-State, but added seven rebounds.

    Alexander Makes Most of Extended Playing Time

    Sophomore center Kyle Alexander wasn’t announced as a starter in the arena, but began the game on the low block and made the most of his opportunity.

    Alexander looked strong and confident with the ball from the jump, scoring four points and recording four rebounds before the first media timeout. Three of those boards were on the offensive end. His length made a difference defensively as well. Alexander finished with eight points and nine rebounds in 18 minutes.

    Weber was complimentary of the Tennessee sophomore.

    “Alexander beat his average in the first two minutes of the game,” Weber said.

    What Alexander lacks in size, he makes up for with pure size. His ability to grab offensive rebounds is crucial for a small Tennessee team. His teammates followed suit. UT finished with 16 offensive boards and only allowed seven Wildcat offensive rebounds.

    Lewwwwww Impresses Again

    Lew Evans had another great night for Tennessee off the bench, including this fadeaway 3 as the shot clock winds down.

    The senior grad transfer finished the game with seven points on 2-of-7 shooting, and three rebounds.Evans doesn’t always fill up the stat sheet, but his experience and veteran presence makes a big difference. He lines guys up on both sides of the ball, always directing traffic.

    “Evans had nine (points) and five (rebounds) and that’s probably the difference in the game,” Weber added.

    Without Detrick Mostella, Tennessee now has two bench players that have stepped up and brought energy off the bench. Evans and Admiral Schofield provided that spark today. Tennessee finished with 18 bench points. K-State had nine.