Tennessee improved to 6-1 on the season Saturday, earning a 69-54 win at Colorado in the Vols first road game of the season.
Here’s three quick takeaways.
My Goodness Kennedy Chandler
Tennessee held a meager three-point lead with six and a half minutes left in the first half. The Vols were playing solid but struggling to create consistent offense in their first true road game of the season.
Then Kennedy Chandler took over, scoring 12 of Tennessee’s final 14 points in the first half as the Vols extended their lead to 10 points at the break.
The five-star freshman has impressed with his perimeter shooting as well as his superb speed so far this season, but the Memphis’ native’s finishing allowed him to take over in the first half.
Chandler got wherever he wanted on the court and that ended up with him shooting an abundance of layups on the right block. He didn’t miss many, shooting eight-of-nine from two-point range in the first half.
The 14-7 run to end the half completely changed the complexion of the game as Colorado never got within four points of Tennessee in the second half.
Chandler’s strong play continued into the second half as he totaled 29 points and two assists in the win.
Oklahoma v Florida Highlights
Forced Turnovers Fuel Strong Defensive Performance
Tennessee’s defense was fantastic in its first true road game of the season, holding Colorado to 54 points.
The Buffs shot a poor 35% from the field, 24% from three point range and 63% from the free throw line. Still, it was Colorado’s turnovers that killed the Buffs offense and led to the road victory.
Colorado turned it over 15 times including 12 in the first half. Tennessee turned that into 21 points which was crucial in a game that Tennessee’s offense struggled.
While Colorado had a number of careless turnovers, Tennessee did a good job of creating steals. Seven different Tennessee players recorded steals as the Vols totaled nine in the game.
The high number of steals wasn’t shocking as the Vols are on pace to record the most steals of the Rick Barnes era. However, Tennessee’s rim protection performed better than expected. The Vols blocked eight shots and Josiah Jordan James’ return to the lineup was a massive boost for Tennessee’s interior defense.
Olivier Nkamhoua recorded two blocks and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield’s defense continues to improve.
In total, Colorado recorded just .818 points per possession compared to Tennessee’s 1.015.
Vols Survive A Poor Shooting Performance
One of the concerns about Tennessee’s offense in the early season was that they were too three-point reliant and thus due for poor performances when the shots weren’t falling.
The shots weren’t falling for Tennessee on Saturday as they shot six-of-24 from three-point range.
It wasn’t a great offensive performance from the Vols, but they still totaled a respectable 69 points.
The Vols offensive success was due in large part to Chandler’s fantastic performance, but John Fulkerson and Vescovi gave Tennessee a solid offensive output.
Tennessee scored 42 of its 69 points in the paint and didn’t settle for mid range jump shots when the three-pointers weren’t falling.
The Vols also shot 47.5% from the field despite shooting just 25% from three-point range.