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Three Quick Takeaways: Tennessee’s Season Ends At Hands Of Purdue In Elite Eight

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/ Tennessee Athletics

DETROIT β€” Tennessee basketball’s season came to an end on Sunday afternoon one game short of the Final Four as one-seed Purdue knocked off the Vols 72-66.

Dalton Knecht was fantastic but Tennessee couldn’t hit enough shots around him and didn’t have enough answers for Zach Edey or Purdue’s inside physicality.

Here’s three quick takeaways.

A Disastrous End To The First Half

Dalton Knecht hit three-pointers on consecutive to make it a 9-0 Tennessee run in just over two minutes. It gave the Vols a 32-21 lead with just over five minutes to go in the first half.

It was a disastrous close to the first half from there for Tennessee. Purdue ripped off a 13-0 run from there to take the lead and the Vols’ only made basket the rest of the half was a transition dunk for Dalton Knecht.

Tennessee missed its final six field goals of the first half and turned it over three times over the stretch. Its defense wasn’t as bad but Purdue did score 15 points in the final 5:05 of the first half while Jahmai Mashack, Tobe Awaka and Jonas Aidoo all picked up their second fouls.

Given how bad some of Tennessee’s turnovers were, they were fortunate to trail only 36-34 at halftime as they held the Boilermakers to a number of scoreless possessions in the final two minutes. But Tennessee shot really well in the first half and Purdue shot very poorly.

The Vols still trailed at halftime due to the disastrous close. It was a debilitating blow that Tennessee could never quite recover from.

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Dalton Knecht Lives Up To The Moment

The Elite Eight matchup pit the two best players in the country, Zach Edey and Dalton Knecht, up against one another. Knecht came through for Tennessee with a fantastic game that the Vols needed to remain in the fight against Purdue.

Knecht came out on fire for the Vols in the first half, scoring 16 points as Tennessee opened up its double-digit first half lead. Purdue threw the entire kitchen sink at Tennessee’s star but he kept finding ways to get loose and do just enough to keep the Vols’ and their struggling offense in the game.

The SEC Player of the Year went for 37 points on 14-of-31 shooting from the field and six-of-12 shooting from three-point range.

On a night where Tennessee’s supporting cast struggled to hit shots, Knecht came up huge time-and-time again for the Vols on the offensive end.

Edey, Purdue’s Physicality and Foul Trouble Too Much For Tennessee

Knecht lived up to his end of the bargain as did Purdue’s star Zach Edey. The 7-foot-4 mountain was unstoppable on the inside, scoring 40 points on 13-of-21 shooting from the field and 14-of-22 while grabbing 16 rebounds and putting the entire Tennessee front line in foul trouble.

Awaka did a fantastic job battling Edey but fouled out in 13 minutes of action while battling the big man. Jonas Aidoo’s recent struggles continued on both ends of the court. He picked up three fouls in 10 of action but Tennessee instead turned to freshman JP Estrella for the major second half minutes with Awaka sidelined.

Estrella did a fantastic job battling Edey and only picked up three fouls in 15 minutes of action.

Purdue also gave Tennessee issues on the offensive glass as they have to just about everyone that they’ve played this season. The Boilermakers earned a 47-26 rebounding advantage including a 13-7 difference on the offensive end of the court.

The Boilermakers interior physicality was too much for Tennessee.

Final Stats

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Tennessee’s season comes to an end a game short of the first Final Four in program history.

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2 Responses

  1. Could’ve been called better on Edey, but proud of these guys. What a run.

  2. Sad when refs protect a giant, you might see a man like Ziegler getting a break being the smallest man on the floor, but to favor the gh giant, nawπŸ‘ŽπŸ»

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