Louisville kept fighting and fighting. But in the end, Tennessee was just too much for the Cardinals.
There were 11 lead changes and seven times during the game in which the Vols and Cardinals were tied, but Tennessee put on more steam late in the second half and pulled away from Louisville. The Cardinals kept UT’s lead within reach for most of the game, and the Vols barely had a 71-70 lead with 8:47 left in the game.
Then, Tennessee turned on the jets.
The Vols would go on a 14-0 run and put the game away over a five minute stretch late in the second half, and Tennessee prevailed 92-81.
Five different Vols scored 11 or more points, and Tennessee survived a hot start by the Cardinals to win their fourth straight game of the 2018-19 season.
Grant Williams led the way with 24 points and nine rebounds, and Admiral Schofield was right behind him with 20 points and six boards. Both Williams and Schofield had four assists each.
John Fulkerson nearly tied his career-high with 11 points, and Jordan Bone had a productive night with 11 points and six assists.
Here are our five biggest takeaways from No. 5 Tennessee’s win over Louisville.
Three After Three
Louisville’s three-point shooting slowed down late in the game, but they were on fire from three for about 75 percent of the game.
The Cardinals finished the game making 11 of their 28 threes, but they kept themselves in the game thanks to their threes in the first half and to start the second half. Tennessee rarely had an answer for Louisville’s three-pointers until UT started making some of their own in the second half.
Louisville came into Wednesday’s game making 37.3 percent of their threes, and they improved on that number after their match-up with Tennessee.
Put on More Steam
Louisville wouldn’t go down no matter how hard Tennessee tried to knock them out of the game. That is, until the Vols finally found the knockout blow late in the second half.
Tennessee and Louisville exchanged strikes time and time again, and the Vols could never pull ahead by more than seven through the first 34 minutes of the game. The Cardinals kept themselves in the ball game by nailing a bunch of threes, and their free throws also helped them keep pace.
Then Tennessee finally went on a run, and that was all she wrote.
The Vols were clinging to a 71-70 lead with 8:47 left in the game when they finally started to pull away. Admiral Schofield and Lamonte Turner helped Tennessee go on a 14-0 run to take a decisive 85-70 lead with 5:16 to play. Tennessee would never look back at that point, and they would keep a double digit lead for the rest of the game.
Welcome Back Lamonte
Reigning co-SEC Sixth Man of the Year Lamonte Turner hadn’t played for the Vols yet this season because he was recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. But Tennessee’s most valuable bench player made his 2018-19 season debut on Wednesday, and he made a big splash.
Turner got off to a little bit of a slow start shooting the ball, but then he came alive in the second half. The Vols’ spark plug finally found his stroke, and he hit three big three-pointers to help spur UT to victory.
Turner finished the game with 13 points on 4-of-10 shooting. He added four assists and five rebounds as well.
Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield were a dynamic duo on Wednesday night.
Williams lit it up in the first half, scoring 17 points and picking up six rebounds. Louisville contained him more in the second half, holding him to seven points and three rebounds in the second half of play. But when he wasn’t getting his opportunities, Admiral stepped up.
Schofield had nine points on only 3-of-8 shooting in the first half, but he had a much better second half. The senior forward scored 11 points and added three rebounds and three assists in the second half, and he and Lamonte Turner led the way in the Vols’ second half surge.
Williams finished with 24 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Schofield had 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists.
Tennessee will take on No. 2 Kansas on Friday as their reward for beating Louisville. The two teams will tip-off at 9 PM Eastern for the NIT Season Tip-Off Championship.