January 22, 2022
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The 24th-ranked Tennessee basketball team led wire-to-wire and avenged an early-season loss to No. 13 LSU in front of a season-high crowd of 21,061 Saturday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Santiago Vescovi led Tennessee with 16 points, including five made 3-pointers. Vescovi also tallied a team-high-tying six rebounds and five assists. Making his second straight start, Uros Plavsic had 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting and six rebounds.
In what was a matchup of two of the nation’s top-five teams in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency, Tennessee held LSU to a season-low 50 points.
Tari Eason led LSU offensively with 16 points.
Coming out of the halftime break with a 29-24 lead, Tennessee opened the second half on a 13-4 run, pulling in front by 14 on a Kennedy Chandler driving layup with 11:34 remaining. In the opening six minutes of the second half, LSU scored just two points and made just one of its first nine shots.
The Vols looked to be in control leading by 15 with nine minutes remaining, but LSU answered Tennessee’s hot start to the second half with a 13-4 run, drawing to within six points on an and-one layup from Eason with 5:00 remaining.
LSU’s spurt was immediately answered by the Big Orange, as a jumper in the paint from John Fulkerson and a 3-pointer from Zakai Zeigler sparked a 13-0 Tennessee run that put the game away.
Just as efficiently as it started the second half, Tennessee was even hotter out of the gates to start the game, opening with a 14-0 run over the first six minutes. Vescovi, Chandler and Josiah-Jordan James all hit 3-pointers to spark the run.
The Vols forced LSU to miss its first seven field goal attempts, as the Tigers did not score until the 13:38 mark.
LSU however quickly countered Tennessee’s hot start, reeling off a 12-3 run to pull within five points. The Tigers drew within one, but never took the lead during the first half.
Vescovi hit four threes in total during the first half, totaling 12 points to lead all scorers in the opening period.
UP NEXT: Tennessee returns to Thompson-Boling Arena for a second straight home game on Wednesday against Florida. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
VESCOVI AGAINST LSU: In four career games against LSU, junior guard Santiago Vescovi is now averaging 15.3 points per game following Saturday’s 16-point performance. Vescovi is also shooting 17-for-35 (.486) from 3-point range against the Tigers during his Tennessee career.
DISTRIBUTING THE ROCK: Tennessee recorded 18 assists on 22 made field goals on Saturday. The 22 assists are the Vols’ second most in an SEC game this season.
FULKY HITS 1,000: With an eight-point outing on Saturday, super senior forward John Fulkerson reached the 1,000-point mark for his career, becoming the 53rd Vol in program history to do so.
COURTESY TENNESSEE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS