Three Quick Takeaways: Tennessee Blows Past Aggies, Wins SEC Tournament Title

    by -

    Anthony Edwards Lifestyle and Net Worth

    TAMPA, Fla. — Tennessee jumped out to a quick start and led wire-to-wire Sunday as the Vols’ claimed their first SEC Tournament Championship in 43 years with a, 65-50, victory over Texas A&M.

    Here’s three quick takeaways.

    How’s That For A Start

    You could be forgiven for thinking it was Josh Heupel and his elite first quarter offense on the court to start the championship game. The Vols jumped on Texas A&M early and led 14-0 by the game’s first media timeout.

    The Vols came out red-hot making three triples in the game’s first four minutes. Tennessee looked like the team with more energy out the gates. The Aggies couldn’t create any good looks offensively and Tennessee dominated the offensive glass in the opening minutes.

    As he did in Saturday’s semifinal, Josiah-Jordan James sparked Tennessee’s offense in the hame’s opening minutes. Against Kentucky, James scored eight points in the first five minutes. Against the Aggies, James tallied six points in the first 2:27, drilling a triple and finishing an and-one.

    The hot-start proved necessary, as Buzz Williams started mixing defenses out of the first media timeout and Tennessee struggled to get in an offensive rhythm for the rest of the game.

    Tennessee’s Defense Suffocates Aggies

    Tennessee’s offense has made major strides as the season has progressed, but the identity of this Tennessee basketball team — and program — is great defense. That’s what got Tennessee its first SEC Tournament Title in 43 years Sunday.

    The Vols suffocated Texas A&M’s offense holding the Aggies to 20 first half points and just 50 points for the game.

    Tennessee turned the Aggies over 12 times and turned it into 18 points on the other end. Texas A&M shot just 31% from the field and made only two more field goals than they did free throws.

    I wrote at the beginning of the year that losing Yves Pons, Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson meant Tennessee would take at least some sort of step back defensively. To Rick Barnes, Mike Schwartz and everyone else in orange-and-white’s credit, it didn’t.

    That’s why Tennessee is partying like it’s 1979 tonight.

    All-SEC Selections Prove It

    Santiago Vescovi landed on the All-SEC First Team earlier this week and Kennedy Chandler landed on the Second Team. The duo played like All-SEC players against the Aggies Sunday.

    Chandler — as he was all week — was the best player on the court. When Tennessee’s offense went through a dry spell the five-star freshman almost always snapped them out of it with a triple. He was fantastic from deep, making 4-of-7 attempts from the perimeter.

    The freshman point guard ended the day with 14 points, four rebounds, and seven assists.

    After Tennessee jumped out to its big league, Texas A&M did not go away. The Aggies hung in the game and cut the Vols’ lead to five points in the first three minutes of the second half. Cue the Chandler answer from beyond the arc. Then it was the Uruguayan sensation’s turn.

    Vescovi got fouled on a three-point shot heading into the under 16 media timeout. The junior hit all three at the charity stripe, stole the ensuing inbounds pass and ended the possession drilling a fadeaway three.

    Buzz Williams wanted to talk about it, but it was over from there. Vescovi would hit another triple two possessions later to put Tennessee up by 15 and the Aggies never got back within single digits.

    Vescovi ended his day with 17 points, three rebounds, and five assists.

    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.