3 Observations from Tennessee’s Win over Ole Miss

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    Photo Credit: Nick Davis/RTI

    Tennessee collapsed at Ole Miss a few weeks ago in a tough loss.

    On Wednesday, the Vols came from behind to beat a cold Ole Miss team down the stretch.

    UT finally tied Ole Miss at 64 with 2:52 to go in the game, after trailing for the entire second half. The Vols wouldn’t look back, outscoring the Rebels 13-2 in the game’s final three minutes. Ole Miss didn’t make a field goal in the game’s final 3:56.

    Here’s three observations from UT’s huge 75-66 win at home:

    Hubbs Shines Once Again

    Robert Hubbs has been playing through various injuries, according to Rick Barnes this week. Hubbs also took ownership for Tennessee’s loss at Mississippi State on Saturday. But against Ole Miss on Wednesday, Hubbs was the key to UT’s offense.

    Hubbs finished with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field and 8-of-10 from the free throw line. He didn’t even attempt a free throw in Tennessee’s loss at Mississippi State on Saturday.

    Ole Miss led for 29 minutes, but it was Hubbs who finally gave Tennessee the lead with 1:30 to go.

    Hubbs looked much more confident with the basketball, finding his way into the middle of the lane much more often. He only made two shots in his four point performance at Mississippi State. Hubbs’ mid-range floater was falling on Wednesday, which is always crucial for his offensive numbers.

    The senior also added four assists and one steal in his game-high 36 minutes on the floor. When Robert Hubbs is hitting shots, Tennessee is a much tougher team to beat, and Rick Barnes will need his senior star to keep scoring in order to keep the Vols’ NCAA tourney hopes alive.

    Free Throws and 3s Fall at Right Time

    Tennessee started the second half 9-of-17 from the free throw line after hitting all eight of its attempts in the first half. Down the stretch however, the Vols made their shots when they had to. UT closed the game 8-of-10 from the charity stripe.

    Conversely, UT didn’t make a 3-pointer in the first half, but caught fire late. UT was 4-of-9 in the second half, including this clutch basket from Jordan Bowden.

    UT’s 17-2 run over the last 3:49 was the difference in the game. The Vols hit four of their last five shots, and late 3s from Lamonte Turner and Admiral Schofield helped put Tennessee back in it.

     

    UT finished the game 25-of-36 from the free throw line.

    Compare those lines with the Mississippi State game on Saturday, and there’s a stark contrast. The Vols were 5-of-18 from 3 and 10-of-22 from the line against the Bulldogs.

    Williams Takes over Late

    Grant Williams was in foul trouble for much of the first half, but came to life late when Tennessee needed points. Williams finished with 20 points, 14 of those coming in the second half. He also had three blocks in the final minute of the game to seal the victory.

    Williams was uncharacteristically reliable from the free throw line late in the game as well. He did a good job staying out of foul trouble, after picking up his third personal early in the second half. But he never got to four.

    It is crucial for Williams to stay on the floor and out of foul trouble. Wednesday was the first time we’ve seen Williams dominate with 3 fouls late in a game. If the freshman forward can learn how to play with foul trouble, it’ll make a big difference for Tennessee down the stretch.