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4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET12:00 PM GMT8:00 PM 北京时间5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST, Feb 19, 2019
Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tennessee  Attendance: 20,523

No. 5 Tennessee regroups against skidding Vanderbilt

Two teams hoping to start winning streaks meet Tuesday night in Knoxville, Tenn., when Vanderbilt and No. 5 Tennessee square off.

The Volunteers (23-2, 11-1 SEC) saw a school-record 19-game winning streak snapped in Saturday's 86-69 loss at Kentucky on Saturday, knocking the Vols from the No. 1 ranking they'd held the previous four weeks.

More importantly, the loss left the SEC race wide open. Tennessee is now tied atop the leaderboard with LSU, and 10-2 Kentucky is just a game back.

Coach Rick Barnes didn't mince words after the rout.

"The things that we said we needed to do tonight, we didn't do," Barnes said. "We were a really poor, selfish team offensively. I told the coaches, 'I don't know who I'm looking at, what I'm looking at, where to turn.' Because, again, we just didn't give ourselves a chance."

"Selfish" hasn't characteristically been a word used to describe the Vols. Tennessee leads the SEC in assists with 19.6 per game, well ahead of second ranked Arkansas (16.2). Guard Jordan Bone leads the conference with 6.5 per game.

The Vols have exceptional scoring balance, with five players -- forward Grant Williams (19.3 points per game) and guards Admiral Schofield (16.7), Bone (13.4), Lamonte Turner (11.2) and Jordan Bowden (11.1) -- averaging in double figures, with forward Kyle Alexander (8.4) not far behind.

Williams needs more shots than the four he got against Kentucky -- he made three, including two 3-pointers, and also went 8 of 9 from the free-throw line for 16 points.

Shots were not a problem for Williams when the Vols and Commodores met on Jan. 23 in Nashville. He was 10 of 15 from the field, and hit all 23 foul shots in Tennessee's 88-83 overtime victory, finishing with a career-high 43 points.

Vanderbilt led that game 76-70 and was about to have the ball, but a baseline official whistled forward Clevon Brown for a controversial foul. After minutes of video review, Brown was charged with a Flagrant 1. Williams hit two free throws and added a lay-up two seconds later, keeping Tennessee alive.

For Vanderbilt (9-16, 0-12) it was freshman Aaron Nesmith (24 points) and sophomore Saben Lee (21) keeping the Commodores alive that night.

Nesmith (11.4 points per game) has become Vanderbilt's best player as the season progresses. Saturday, his 24 points and 14 rebounds weren't enough to keep the Commodores from losing to Auburn by a 64-53 score.

As has been the case during a 13-game losing streak, Vanderbilt had a chance late, trailing by four with the ball with under two minutes left.

The Commodores desperately need a third offensive threat. Nesmith (14.5 in SEC games) is the leading scorer in conference play, followed by Lee (13.6).

But fatigue may have become a factor for Lee late against Auburn. He's played at least 35 minutes in nine of his last 10 games, and has scored just four points in each of his last two.

Fatigue may be showing up in other ways. Vanderbilt shoots just 63 percent from the free-throw line in league play, hampering an offense built around getting to the line.

"The last couple years, with the team that we had, we couldn't get to the free-throw line for anything," coach Bryce Drew said last week. "Now, we're getting to the free throw-line a lot. The problem is, they're momentum-destroyers when we're on runs and we get front ends 1/8of one-and-ones 3/8 and we miss, or we get two and we miss them both."

--Field Level Media

Updated February 18, 2019

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