Tennessee basketball moved up three spots to No. 5 in the AP poll updated Monday after winning both games last week. The Vols beat Mississippi State at home Tuesday night 87-53 before traveling to South Carolina on Saturday and beating the Gamecocks 85-42. UT is the second highest rated SEC team.
The Vols are one of five teams classified by the SEC. Alabama was the highest ranked SEC team at No. 4, while Arkansas dropped two spots to No. 15. Missouri was ranked. 20 and Auburn ranked No. 21.
Tennessee dominated Mississippi from start to finish after that Eros Plavsik He won the opening tip and scored on the first possession of the game. Paired with a trio of three Santiago Vescovi and three early from Tyrkey key, would light a 16-0 run to start the game. The Vols would never lead by less than the 16 points they established out of the gate.
UT led by as much as 35 points the night before with a dominating first-half performance. The run to start the game eventually grew to 20-3 before UT continued to lead by as many as 29 in the opening frame. Tennessee shot 63% from the field and 9-of-14 from behind the three-point line to take a 46-22 halftime lead to the locker room.
Five different volumes reached double figures against the Bulldogs. Vescovi led with 14 points, while Ziegler and Julian Phillips All scored 11, and Plavcic Oliver Nakamhua Both scored 10, respectfully. Vescović was ecstatic from the three-point line, starting the game 4-of-5 from deep along with three rebounds, two assists and a steal for the game. Ziegler recorded his first career double-double, grabbing 10 assists to go along with 11 points, four rebounds and three steals.
The return of the volunteers was the highlight of the night Josiah Jordan James. The first-choice goalkeeper scored at the 15:14 mark of the first period to make his first appearance since December 7 and only his sixth of the season.
It didn’t take long for James to make an impact despite missing his first two shots of the match. He caught a steal in his second shift on the ground and went on to catch a hit from Ziegler in transition that gave Tennessee a 40-14 lead with 2:48 left in the first half. James was tackled in the middle of the field by his teammates after the play. He would go on to drop a pair of three-pointers to finish with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, four assists and a steal in 17 minutes.
Tennessee also cruised to a dominant win over South Carolina to start SEC play with three straight wins. Ute led Nekemoh’s 21 points on a 10-of-10 shot from the floor. Nekmoh also recorded 10 rebounds to complete his first double-double of the season. Four of his rebounds came on offensive touchdowns while he also recorded a steal on defensive end.
Nkamhoua was one of four volumes completed in double digit form. Vescovi was 5-of-9 from the floor for 12 points while James also finished with 12 points on his return home. The Charleston native also grabbed three rebounds in his second game back from injury. New forward Jonas Ido Cracked in 15 points on 2-of-3 shooting.
As a team, the Volunteers shoot 51% from the field and 45% from the three-point line while Carolina carries 25% shooting and 15% from three-pointers. They held a five-star freshman JJ Jackson He dropped to zero points shooting 0 from 8 and forced him to tip over in four. The Vols also won the rebounding battle 48-21 and beat the Gamecocks 36-16 in the paint.
Tennessee will be back in action on Tuesday night in Knoxville when it hosts Vanderbilt. Tipoff is scheduled with Commodores Jerry Stackhouse (8-7, 1-1 SEC) at 9 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.