Three Quick Takeaways: Tennessee Coasts Past Missouri

    by -

    NCAAM 2/21 Recap: Texas Tech (-480) Wins But Fails To Cover Vs. Oklahoma

    Tennessee bounced back from Saturday’s loss at Arkansas, controlling the game wire-to-wire in a, 80-61, win at Missouri.

    Here’s three quick takeaways.

    Missouri Can’t Contain Kennedy Chandler

    Kennedy Chandler is a more than capable three-point shooter, but there’s no doubt the freshman point guard is at his best when he can get to the basket.

    That’s exactly what Kennedy Chandler did at Missouri, scoring 23 points on nine-of-10 shooting from inside the three-point line.

    The Vols’ point guard got to the basket at will in the first half, scoring 14 points on five-of-six shooting at the basket. Both in the half court, but particularly transition, the Tigers couldn’t stay in front of Chandler  as the former five-star’s speed gave them fits.

    Chandler had one of his best games of the season finishing at the basket using a handful of creative finishes to create more space around the rim. The freshman was fearless, getting his shot blocked at the rim one possession only to go back at the hoop in the proceeding possessions.

    The point guard was in complete control of the game, getting his teammates involved and taking care of the basket. Chandler finished with a team-high six assists to no turnovers.

    Adding eight rebounds and two steals, that was the best game Chandler has played this season. The Memphis native was simply fantastic in the bounce back win.

    A Victor Bailey Jr Showing

    Victor Bailey Jr. has been a non factor for most of the season after finishing last season poorly. Bailey had scored in double digits just once this season — 14 points against Presbyterian — and hadn’t scored more than seven points in SEC play.

    Bailey has stayed right on the edge of the rotation, playing in 12 of the Vols’ 14 SEC games but in double-digits only once.

    The Austin, Texas native got into a rhythm in Columbia, scoring 11 points on five-of-eight shooting from the field. Bailey entered the game shooting just 21% from deep on the season, but knocked down a wide open look on one of his first possessions in the game and he was off-and-running from there.

    The senior was aggressive on the offensive end having success getting into the midrange. When Bailey has had big games in the past, it’s been because of red-hot three-point shooting. That wasn’t the case Tuesday as Bailey shot just one triple, focusing on going to the basket.

    Bailey’s defensive intensity and energy on the court will please Rick Barnes just as much as the strong offense. The Oregon transfer had an impressive offensive rebound that helped spark a Tennessee run in the second half as the Vols’ pulled away from the Tigers.

    With Bailey earning 18 minutes, Justin Powell did not play in the Vols win.

    Vols Lean On Freshmen In Front Court

    Tennessee’s front court play has been a major mixed bag this season. Rick Barnes has played all four of his front court members early in games in SEC play as none of the four are consistent and the seventh-year head likes to find the hot-hand early.

    Against the Tigers, it was the two freshmen big men that stepped up for Tennessee, and that’s the first time that has happened all season.

    Brandon Huntley-Hatfield showed the strength and physicality Tennessee has been waiting on all season grabbing six rebounds — including four on the offensive end — and finishing dunks around the rim.

    The five-star freshman ended with six points while playing his most minutes in SEC play.

    Jonas Aidoo was inefficient on the offensive end, scoring five points on one-of-eight shooting, but the 6-foot-11 freshman was fantastic on the defensive end.

    Aidoo once again proved he’s Tennessee’s best rim protector, totaling three blocks. The North Carolina native added five rebounds and was a fantastic +18 in 23 minutes.

    Like I said at the open, consistency has been the hardest thing for Tennessee’s big men to show all season, but Tuesday’s game was a fantastic showing from Huntley-Hatfield and Aidoo.

    Ryan Schumpert is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. Ryan spent three years with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program before joining RTI. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.