Inconsistency dooms No. 16 Vols, again
BATON ROUGE, La. (UT Athletics) – A tough day from the field and 20-point outputs from Cam Thomas and Javonte Smart were too much for the No. 16 Tennessee basketball team to overcome Saturday, as it fell to LSU, 78-65, at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Vols (14-5, 7-5 SEC) shot just 35 percent from the field, while the Tigers (13-6, 8-4 SEC) shot the ball at a highly efficient clip of 52 percent.
Freshman Jaden Springer led the Vols in scoring, finishing with 21 points and eclipsing the 20-point mark for the third consecutive game. Springer also concluded the afternoon with six rebounds and a season-high seven assists with just one turnover.
Classmate Keon Johnson finished with 10 points, three rebounds and a pair of steals.
Sophomore Santiago Vescovi was the third Vol to score in double-figures, as he dropped in 13 points on 4-of-9 shooting.
Fellow sophomore Olivier Nkamhoua was effective in seven minutes off the bench, scoring four points and pulling in three rebounds.
Yet again, sophomore guard Josiah-Jordan James was all over the stat sheet, recording nine points, six rebounds, two steals and a block.
LSU controlled the majority of the opening half, using a 16-4 run through the middle portions of the period to build a lead as a large as 12.
Over the final five minutes, the Vols used a 10-3 run of their own to cut their deficit to five, as the Tigers took a slim, 31-26 lead into the break.
LSU continued to hold the edge as the contest reached its latter stages, taking a 59-49 lead into the final 7:44 of the afternoon.
The Tigers held off the Vols during the final stretches of the contest to cement the final score.
Up Next: Tennessee returns home for a showdown with South Carolina Tuesday. The opening tip from Thompson-Boling Arena is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.