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Three Quick Takeaways: Dalton Knecht Propels Tennessee Basketball Past Auburn

Photo By Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee basketball was in the danger zone midway through the second half as Auburn went on a major run. Then Dalton Knecht reminded everyone that he’s one of the best players in the country.

Knecht went nuclear in the game’s final minutes as Tennessee basketball defeated Auburn 92-84 at Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center.

Here’s three quick takeaways.

Battle Between Broome And Aidoo Lives Up To Hype

The matchup between Tennessee and Auburn pitted two of the SEC’s best big men against one another— Auburn’s Johni Broome and Tennessee’s Jonas Aidoo.

The matchup lived up to its billing. With Tennessee’s offense struggling early in the game, Aidoo was the man that made it happen for the Vols. The junior big man made the Vols’ first three shots from the field and totaled 10 points in the first half before going quiet in the second half finishing with 14 points on six-of-10 shooting from the field.

Aidoo was effective scoring in the paint with his left hand but also had his mid range jumper working, making a pair of them in the first half.

Broome proved why he’s considered one of the best big men in the country. He was efficient on the offensive end, scoring 23 points on nine-of-16 shooting from the field. Broome had his entire game working. He scored in the paint, had a sick spin move off of Aidoo for a dunk and knocked down two triples.

Both players impacted the game besides scoring too. Broome grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists while Aidoo grabbed seven rebounds.

More From RTI: Tennessee Basketball In The Thick Of The SEC Championship Race

Auburn Takes Control After A Prolonged Stretch Of Bad Offense From Tennessee

Tennessee took a four-point lead into halftime and quickly scored the first five points of the game to take a nine-point lead— its biggest of the game.

From there, the Vols’ offense collapsed and Auburn used a 23-6 run to take control of the game. Tennessee couldn’t get anything going on the offensive end in that stretch. Over a 7:07 stretch, Tennessee made just one-of-nine field goals.

But missed field goals weren’t the only issue over the stretch. During those seven minutes, the game largely turned into a free throw contest with a litany of fouls.

After shooting 14-of-15 at the line in the first half, Tennessee had a two-of-six stretch at the line including Zakai Zeigler twice missing the front end of the bonus.

During that same stretch, Auburn took care of business at the foul line by making five-of-six free throw.

That’s how Auburn turned a nine-point deficit into an eight-point lead and completely changed the dynamic of the game.

Dalton Knecht Comes Through In The Second Half

So Tennessee’s offense was struggling badly for much of the second half. Anyone want to take a guess at what broke them out of the poor stretch?

It was Dalton Knecht. Again.

He’s been the answer to Tennessee’s offensive issues all season and he was again against Auburn. Knecht ended the poor offensive stretch by hitting a triple with 12:01 to play. He scored the next 11 points for Tennessee after that before Zakai Zeigler hit a triple that put the Vols up by 10 points.

Then he hit another three-pointer and drove past Broome for a dunk. By the time he hit one more free throw and scored driving to the basket, he had scored 23 points in just shy of eight minutes. Maybe most impressively, he was an incredible nine-of-10 from the field during the stretch.

Knecht ended the game scoring 39 points on 12-of-21 from the field. In the second half, he scored 27 points on nine-of-16 shooting from the field and three-of-six from three-point range.

He propelled the Vols past Auburn.

Final Stats

Up Next

Tennessee hits the road on Saturday where they’ll face No. 14 Alabama in a primetime showdown. ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to Tuscaloosa for the matchup with major SEC Championship repercussions. Tipoff is at  8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

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