Tennessee’s men’s basketball team hosted an open scrimmage Saturday morning at Thompson-Boling Arena ahead of Vol football’s top 10 showdown with Alabama.
The intrasquad scrimmage wasn’t purely starters versus back ups but the orange team — Santiago Vescovi, Zakai Zeigler, Olivier Nkamhoua, Julian Phillips, Jahmai Mashack and Tobe Awaka — had more key players than the grey team — Tyreke Key, Jonas Aidoo, B.J. Edwards, Uros Plavsic, Kent Gilbert, Alec Kegler and Kidd Brizek.
Still, the grey team outlasted a hard second half push to defeat the orange team, 73-69, in a 32 minute scrimmage.
* Josiah-Jordan James did not participate in the scrimmage but sat on the orange team bench dressed out for much of the day.
Uros Plavsic – 25 points
Tyreke Key – 19 points (2-of-6 from three)
Jonas Aidoo – 10 points (1-of-1 from three)
B.J. Edwards – 9 points (1-of-5 from three)
Kent Gilbert – 6 points (2-of-2 from three)
Colin Coyne – 3 points
Kidd Brizek – 2 points
I have the grey team scoring 74 points but the scoreboard says 73 so I attributed one player an extra point accidentally.
Grey – 6-of-15 (40%) from three-point range
Julian Phillips – 19 points (3-of-7 from three)
Santiago Vescovi – 19 points (5-of-9 from three)
Zakai Zeigler – 12 points (2-of-7 from three)
Olivier Nkamhoua – 10 points (0-of-2 from three)
Tobe Awaka – 5 points
Jahmai Mashack – 4 points (0-of-2 from three)
Orange – 10-of-24 (42%) from three-point range.
Other notes and observations
Julian Phillips was quiet in the first half, scoring just two points that came at the free throw line. Rick Barnes challenged the five-star freshman at halftime and Phillips came alive in the second half, hitting back-to-back threes early in the half to even the scoring.
The 6-foot-8 forward does not have a traditional back-to-the-basket game. Still, he hit back-to-back midrange turnarounds in later in the second half. Phillips finished the second half with 17 points and was perhaps the best player on the court in the final 20 minutes.
If Phillips wasn’t the best player on the court it was Tyreke Key. Key spent a lot of time playing point guard and did a strong job of running Tennessee’s offense. His veteran craftiness was well on display in the second half, scoring in the midrange and drawing fouls at the rim. If Phillips was the best player on the court in the second half, Key wasn’t far behind him.
Tennessee frequently isolated Key with a midrange post up and the Indiana State transfer was extremely effective doing so.
Uros Plavsic’s numbers jump off the stat sheet and they should. Plavsic was Tennessee’s best big man in the scrimmage and while most his points came on his patented right handed baby hook, Plavsic twice put the ball on the ground facing the basket and scored with his left hand.
Tobe Awaka is a fish out of water in a lot of ways right now, especially offensively. Still, it’s easy to see the potential Tennessee sees in him. Big, strong player that is aggressive rebounding the basketball.
A lot of what you would expect from Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi. Both backcourt players were impressive and displayed much of what we saw last year.
Jonas Aidoo made a three and had a nice put back in an otherwise quiet day.