5 Observations: No. 21 Tennessee 75, Jacksonville State 53

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    (Photo via Tennessee Athletics)

    No. 21 Tennessee snapped its two-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon, defeating Jacksonville State 75-53. The win was Rick Barnes’ 700th win of his coaching career.

    Senior guard Jordan Bowden led the way for Tennessee (8-3), scoring a game-high 19 points. John Fulkerson added 16 points. As a team, the Vols shot 48 percent and were 7-of-26 from the three-point line despite missing their first eight shots from distance. Tennessee held the Gamecocks (4-8) to 37 percent shooting and forced them into 16 turnovers.

    Here are the biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s win over Jacksonville State.

    Lamonte Turner is Done

    The biggest storyline coming out of the Jacksonville State win didn’t take place until well after the game and after head coach Rick Barnes had spoken with the media. It happened when Lamonte Turner was speaking post game and announced that his Tennessee playing career is over.

    “I played my last game as a Vol tonight,” Turner said following the game. “A lot of people know I’ve been battling injury. We haven’t know what’s wrong, or what’s going on, but as of two weeks ago we finally figured out that I have thoracic outlet syndrome.”

    According to the Mayo Clinic, thoracic outlet syndrome is a group of disorders that occur when blood vessels or nerves in the space between your collarbone and your first rib are compressed. This can cause pain in your shoulders and neck, and numbness in your fingers.

    “It’s been affecting my nerves, which explains my shot and all the stuff I’ve been battling,” Turner explained. “So, I’m choosing to have surgery.”

    The surgery will not only end Turner’s season, but his career as a Vol as he is a redshirt senior. Turner finishes his career with 1,086 career points, 347 assists, 308 rebounds, and 98 steals.

    Against Jacksonville State, his final game in a Tennessee uniform, Turner scored eight points, dished out 11 assists, grabbed three rebounds, and tallied a steal.

    Rough Stretch in the 1st Half

    The Vols scored 45 points in the second half to win by 22 points, but the first half of play was quite different. Tennessee shot 37.5 percent from the field in the opening half and went just 3-of-13 from three.

    Tennessee had one stretch midway through the half where they did not score over the course of seven minutes and 31 seconds. Fulkerson hit a jumper with 13:34 to go in the half to push the Vols’ lead to seven, but the team didn’t score again until Fulkerson drained a layup with 6:03 remaining.

    Over the course of the 7:31 in which Tennessee did not score, the Gamecocks went on a 10-0 run to take a 16-13 lead. Fulkerson’s bucket to end the Vols’ drought cut the Jacksonville State lead to one. Tennessee would take back the lead and held a slim margin at halftime before pulling away in the second half.

    Double Figures

    Tennessee had four players reach double figures on Saturday afternoon inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

    Bowden, who lost his grandmother on Friday morning and whose availability for the game was questionable, scored a game-high 19 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He made four 3-pointers. Bowden also had three steals, three rebounds, and two assists.

    Fulkerson chipped in 16 points, which was a point shy of his career-high of 17 points against VCU earlier this season. The redshirt junior forward grabbed three rebounds, two steals, and picked up an assist.

    Yves Pons and Josiah-Jordan James were the other two Vols to reach double figures. Pons scored 11 points while also blocking a career-high six rebounds. That tied the school record for most blocks in a single game in UT history. The junior forward also had nine rebounds.

    James, the Vols’ freshman guard, scored 10 points and added six rebounds.

    Win No. 700

    Saturday afternoon’s victory for the Vols marked win No. 700 for Barnes in his historic coaching career. With the win, Barnes becomes the 22nd coach all-time to reach 700 wins in Division 1 basketball. He is one of seven active coaches to reach 700 wins.

    Barnes is four wins away from winning his 100th game as head coach of the Vols.

    Long Break Upcoming

    Tennessee will have the upcoming week off for the holidays following a week where they lost to Cincinnati and beat Jacksonville State. The Vols will welcome Wisconsin (5-5) to town next Saturday. Tip-off with the Badgers is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET on CBS.



    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also the host of the RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.