Tennessee heads into Christmas riding a six-game winning streak after taking care of business at home against Wake Forest with a 83-64 victory.
The No. 3 Vols (10-1) started a little sluggish and allowed the Demon Deacons (6-4) to hang around, take the lead a couple times, and keep the game tied multiple times.
Then Tennessee went on a quick 7-0 run after leading 27-25 to grab a 34-25 lead with 3:20 left in the first half, and it was smooth sailing from there.
The Vols held a 12-point halftime lead over Wake, leading 42-30 at the halfway point. They built on that lead in the second half and ran away with the game thanks to some hot shooting. Tennessee made 58.6 percent of their buckets in the second half, and they out-scored Wake Forest 41-34 in the final half of play.
Tennessee wore their throwback alternate uniforms, and they did so in front of a packed Thompson-Boling Arena. Over 19,000 fans showed up for Saturday’s contest, marking the highest attendance total so far this season. And the fans were given a good show, as the Vols trailed for just 25 seconds of game time.
Grant Williams led the Vols with 22 points, and he picked up a double-double by pulling down 10 rebounds as well. Kyle Alexander scored 19 points, Jordan Bone added 18, and Admiral Schofield contributed 12 points.
Here are our three biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s 83-64 win over Wake Forest.
Alexander’s Big Day
Senior center Kyle Alexander turned in a big day at the office on Saturday afternoon.
The 6-foot-11 senior was extremely efficient and showed off his improved offensive skills all afternoon. He drove to the basket and finished off tons of possessions with points, and he was strong in the paint on defense as well.
Alexander finished the game with 19 points — a new career-high — and made all but one of his 10 field goal attempts. He also brought down eight rebounds and blocked a shot in 30 minutes.
Saturday’s game marked the eighth time in 11 games this season that Alexander has scored in double figures. He scored 10 or more points just seven times in 34 games last season.
Tennessee was smooth and efficient on offense on Saturday. The Vols made 53.3 percent of their shots, and they assisted on 17 of their 32 made field goals. UT was even efficient from the free throw line, nailing 16 of their 21 shots from the charity stripe. They also only turned the ball over five times the entire game.
The only area Tennessee struggled on offense was hitting threes. The Vols made just three of their 13 three-point attempts, but it didn’t come back to bite them.
Four different Vols scored in double figures in the win. Grant Williams (22), Kyle Alexander (19), Jordan Bone (18), and Admiral Schofield (12) all hit the double digit mark.
Jalen Johnson hit both his three-point attempts and finished with six points, and Jordan Bowden contributed six points off the bench as well.
Down Low Dominance
The Vols were able to build their lead and salt away the game thanks to some excellent play down in the post.
Grant Williams, Kyle Alexander, and a slashing Jordan Bone all helped the Vols outscore the Demon Deacons 42-30 in the paint. The Vols also out-rebounded Wake Forest 34-28.
Tennessee’s post players (Grant Williams, Kyle Alexander) combined for 40 points and 18 rebounds on 16-of-24 shooting.