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Three Quick Takeaways: Vols Make Quick Work Of USC Upstate

CBB Preview: Alabama Vs. Memphis

Tennessee made easy work of USC Upstate Tuesday night, jumping out to a 13-0 lead before cruising to a 96-52 victory. The win pushes the Vols to 8-2 ahead of Saturday’s showdown with Memphis.

Here’s three quick takeaways.

This One Got Out Of Hand Early

Tennessee has started relatively slow in a handful of its matchups with non power six opponents and started really slow in the win over Tennessee Tech.

The Vols didn’t mess around with USC Upstate at all, jumping out to a 13-0 lead in the first 3:16 of the game. The Spartans hung even with Tennessee for a few minutes after that, cutting the Vols lead to nine with 11:50 left in the first half.

From there, Tennessee blew the doors off USC Upstate going on a 12-2 run to essentially put the game to bed and finishing the first half on an extended 29-11 run.

That run pushed Tennessee’s halftime lead to 51-24, a massive number even exceeding Vegas’ expectations for the game — the Vols were 35.5-point favorites.

Tennessee did everything well on the offensive end in the first half — besides poor free throw shooting. The Vols shot 54% from the field, 50% from three-point range, turned it over only five times and grabbed 12 offensive rebounds leading to 17 second chance points.

Brandon Huntley-Hatfield The First Vol Off The Bench

Five-star freshman Brandon Huntley-Hatfield made a step in the right direction in practice before the Vols matchup with UNC Greensboro. That seems to have continued heading into the USC Upstate as the power forward — along with point guard Zakai Zeigler — were the first Vols off the bench in the win.

That’s the first time in Huntley-Hatfield’s young college career that he’s been the first player off the bench for Tennessee and shows Rick Barnes budding confidence in him.

The Clarksville, Tennessee native delivered for the second straight game, scoring six points on three-of-seven shooting while grabbing eight rebounds.

His 18 minutes played were the third most of his young career, finishing just behind the 23 minutes he played in Tennessee’s win over North Carolina and 19 he played against Tennessee Tech.

The North Carolina game was the only game against a power six opponent where Huntley-Hatfield has played more than 12 minutes so let’s wait to see how much and how well he plays this next week, but the freshman seems to be turning a corner.

Double-Double For Kennedy Chandler

Last week was Kennedy Chandler’s worst in the first month of his college basketball career. He bounced back in a big way, posting the first double-double of his career with 15 points and 10 assists in just 25 minutes of play.

Chandler still didn’t shoot the ball as well as he can, but was still efficient on the offensive end making six-of-11 field goals and three-of-five three-point attempts.

However, the Memphis native impressed more with his passing than shooting against the Spartans. Chandler was fantastic creating for others, setting up an abundance of easy baskets for his big men including a pair of beautiful alley-oops to John Fulkerson.

I’ve written about it at length this season, but without Kennedy Chandler the Vols struggle to score at the basket. A lot of times that’s been Chandler scoring the ball at the basket consistently but it’s often him getting easy looks for big men.

That happened plenty on Tuesday and all of the Vols big men had big nights. Huntley-Hatfield scored six points, Olivier Nkamhoua scored a game-high 21 points — on nine-of-10 shooting, Fulkerson scored 12 points and Uros Plavsic scored seven points.

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