Tennessee improved to 4-0 on the season after an impressive offensive performance from Jaden Springer which led to a 103-49 win against Tennessee Tech. The Vols defense once again shined as well, keeping the struggling Golden Eagles in check offensively.
Here are three takeaways.
Springer shines again
In the Vols previous game against Appalachian State, Jaden Springer had a breakout game offensively, scoring 11 points and shooting six-of-eight from the field.
Against Tennessee Tech, Springer took his offensive game to another level.
Springer took over the game early in the first half and was able to find success from behind the three-point line and by driving the ball to basketball.
In 13 first-half minutes, Springer scored 17 points on six-of-seven shooting from the field. He also shot two-of-three from behind the three-point line and continued to positively impact the game on defense with his athleticism and quick hands.
In the second half, Springer continued his impressive play on defense but also did it by getting his teammates involved. Springer led the Vols in assist with six and finished the game with a team-leading 21 points.
“He was terrific, really played within himself and knew what he was looking for,” Rick Barnes said of Springer. “ Taking care of the ball was huge and his assists were huge. Jaden understands where he wants to get the ball for himself and he’s a great finisher, mid-range, close to the basket he's great at that. He's worked hard on his three-point shot. Defensively, he continued to get better overall there. We know he can guard the ball but I just thought he was terrific all around tonight.”
Vols offense gets hot
In the first two games of the season, while the Vols relied on defense, offensively, they struggled to find a rhythm. Against Appalachian State, the Vols offense started to fulfill the potential they had shown to their coaches.
On Friday night against the Golden Eagles, the Vols took their offensive game to an even higher level.
The Vols shot an impressive 58.3% from the field and 47.4% from behind the three-point line, both are increases compared to their averages on the young season.
The Vols had six players in double figures on the night.
Inside, the Vols dominated once again as they scored 62 points in the paint while also grabbing 12 offensive rebounds and 45 total.
Victor Bailey Jr. had another impressive performance for the Vols in his debut year. Bailey scored 15 points while also shooting an efficient 62.5% from the field and went a perfect two-for-two from behind the arc. Bailey also grabbed two rebounds and had two assists.
Josiah Jordan James continued to show off his all-around game against the Golden Eagles. James also scored 15 points and once again scored efficiently making six of his eight shots from the field and going three for five from behind the three-point line. James also had six rebounds and added three assists on the night.
“I thought our three-point shooting was fantastic tonight,” Barnes said. “We took threes that we want to take, we worked the ball inside out.”
Vols defense doesn’t stop
While the Vols were able to have an explosive night offensively, they didn’t let their play on the defensive end slip.
The Vols were able to hold the Golden Eagles to just 31% shooting from the field and 26.9% from behind the three-point line.
One of the best qualities of the Vols defense is their ability to turn the opponent over and tonight was no different.
The Vols had eight steals on the night and forced 15 turnovers which led to 25 points off of those turnovers.
A major key to the Vols' solid defense is their ability to play rugged and tough defense without fouling. Tennessee kept that style of play going as they had just 10 personal fouls tonight which allowed them to have a solid substitution pattern that kept every player fresh and ready to play every time they touched the court.
“This is what we do,” Yves Pons said on the Vols' defense. “We are a defensive team and we work to achieve our goals. We want to keep teams under 65 points and that’s what we’ve been doing. We practice hard and we just want to continue to hold our opponents under 65 points.”
The Vols will try to keep their offense white-hot when they welcome Saint Joseph’s to Thompson-Boling Arena on Monday night for a 6:00 p.m. ET tip-off on SEC Network.