The Volunteers racked up their 3rd win in a row Saturday with a victory over the Kansas State Wildcats at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tennessee’s home victory was a part of the SEC-Big 12 challenge, a series that features 10 SEC vs. Big 12 games.
Tennessee was firing at all cylinders from the start of the game, as the Big Orange jumped out to a 13 to 5 lead within the first 5 minutes, and really never let up. Kansas State never led the entire game, as they were outscored, outrebounded, and outhustled. Tennessee’s big advantage was rebounding. The Vols grabbed 43 rebounds, while Kansas State pulled down only 29 rebounds. Tennessee also converted those rebounds into 23 second-chance points on the offensive end. The Vols also held an advantage shooting the ball. The Vols were 44.8% on field goals and 35.7% on three-pointers, while Kansas State made 39.6% of field goals, and 31.3% of their three-pointers.
Leading the way for Tennessee was freshman Grant Williams. Williams has been a key part of the Tennessee team the entire season. He continued his high-level of play Saturday. Williams led the team with 17 points, 6 rebounds, and a pair of assists. Two other players scored double-digit points for the Vols, Jordan Bowden, and senior Robert Hubbs III. Bowden had 13 points, a rebound, and an assist, while Hubbs had 10 points, 7 rebounds, and an assist. Forward Kyle Alexander’s play also stood out. Alexander had 8 points, a team-leading 9 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Kansas State’s top scorer was guard Barry Brown. Brown recorded 17 points, and 4 assists, while also sinking 3 three-pointers. Wesley Iwundu also contributed to the Wildcats scoring, with 14 points of his own.
As previously mentioned, Tennessee led the entire game, despite a surge from Kansas State in the second half. The Wildcats only came within 9 points of the Volunteers in the second half.
The 12-point win for Tennessee is a solid resume builder in the Vols quest to make the NCAA Tournament in March. The Vols finished a three-game home stand with the win Saturday, and they won all three of those games. Next up for Tennessee, they will travel to Auburn on Tuesday and face the Tigers at 9 P.M. EST.