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Tennessee Vols hosts Vanderbilt, Wednesday

Tennessee (15-12/7-7 SEC) vs. Vanderbilt (14-13/7-7 SEC)

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 | 5:31pm CT
Knoxville, TN | Thompson-Boling Arena

Tennessee Volunteers - UT VolsKnoxville, TN – In a matchup of two teams separated by a single spot in the RPI top 50 and situated firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Tennessee plays host to in-state foe Vanderbilt on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena. Tip-off is slated for 5:30pm CT on SEC Network.

Both the Vols (15-12, 7-7 SEC) and Commodores (14-13, 7-7 SEC) enter the regular season’s penultimate week coming off of wins. UT snapped a two-game skid on Saturday, picking up a 90-70 win over Missouri behind 25 points from freshman Grant Williams [1] and 21 points from senior Robert Hubbs III [2]. Meanwhile, Vanderbilt grabbed a 71-62 victory over then-No. 21 South Carolina in Nashville.

The Tennessee Vols and Vanderbilt Commodores tip off at 5:30pm CT on Wednesday night on SEC Network. (Tennessee Athletics Department) [3]

Following his big outing on Saturday — which also featured a game-high eight rebounds — Hubbs is now only six points shy of becoming the 48th Volunteer to eclipse 1,000 career points. Averaging 14.3 ppg this season, Hubbs is UT’s top scorer.

Tennessee will also hope for continued production from Williams, who is averaging a team-high 21.0 ppg over his last three games. Another true freshman, guard Jordan Bone [4], is riding a similar hot streak, having recorded 20 assists to just three turnovers over his last four home contests.

Bone and Williams were effective in the last meeting against the Commodores as the former posted a season-best 23 points as well as five assists while the latter tallied 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

The Series

A Win Would

Give the Vols victories in six of their last seven games at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Stand as Tennessee’s 16th victory of the season, exceeding last season’s 34-game win total of 15.

Give UT its first regular-season sweep of Vanderbilt since 2013.

Give Tennessee its third top-50 RPI victory this season (Vanderbilt is 49).

About the Vanderbilt Commodores

Vanderbilt CommodoresWinners in three of their last four, Vanderbilt comes to Knoxville with a 14-13 (7-7 SEC) record. The Commodores’ stand one spot in front of Tennessee in the official RPI, occupying No. 49.

In its most recent outing, Vanderbilt picked up a 71-62 win over No. 21 South Carolina in Nashville. The Commodores held the Gamecocks to just one made field goal over the game’s final 9:30 and used a 7-0 run with under five minutes to play to clinch the win.

Vanderbilt is the SEC’s top 3-point shooting team this season, boasting a .383 3-point percentage. No SEC team has attempted more 3-pointers than the Commodores this season (703), who average more than 26 attempts from deep.

Junior guard Riley LaChance (10.1 ppg) is leading Vanderbilt’s 3-point barrage. The guard leads the SEC in 3-point field goal percentage, shooting at a 49.1 percent (54-of-110) clip from beyond the arc. Matthew Fisher-Davis—the Commodores’ leading scorer at 15.3 ppg—is also among the conference’s leaders in 3-point shooting as his 39.5 percent (70-of-177) mark ranks third.

Joining Fisher-Davis and LaChance with double-figure scoring averages are forwards Luke Kornet (13.3 ppg) and Jeff Roberson (10.6 ppg). Roberson is the team’s leading rebounder at 7.1 boards per game while Kornet—who stands at 7-1—is second at 6.0 rpg.

In SEC play, Kornet is ranked in the top 10 of seven different categories: rebounding (6.4 rpg), free throw percentage (.854), 3-point percentage (.392), made threes (29), blocked shots (1.9 bpg), defensive rebounds (4.6 rpg) and minutes played (33.4 mpg).

The Commodores are 4-5 on the road this season with all four of those wins coming in SEC play. Vanderbilt picked up notable road wins at Florida on Jan. 21 and at Arkansas on Feb. 7.

Head coach Bryce Drew is in his first season with Vanderbilt. He arrived in Nashville after racking up a 124-49 (.717) record and two NCAA Tournament berths in five seasons at Valparaiso.

Vols Successful On State Circuit

Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Vols have beaten every in-state Division I team. Those schools include Austin Peay (1-1), Belmont (3-0), Chattanooga (4-1), ETSU (7-0), Lipscomb (2-0), Memphis (4-5), Middle Tennessee (5-1), Tennessee Tech (4-0), Tennessee State (3-0), UT Martin (2-0) and Vanderbilt (16-9).

During that span, UT is 51-17 (.750) against in-state Division I teams.

Memorable Vol Performances Against Vanderbilt

Josh Richardson [7] (now with the Miami Heat) helped the Vols rally from two separate double-digit deficits in the second half by scoring 15 of his game-high 22 points in the final stanza to lift Tennessee to a 67-61 comeback win over Vanderbilt in the 2015 SEC Tournament in Nashville on March 12th, 2015. In what was the second-to-last game of his career, Richardson also led all players with three steals and was a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Dyron Nix (17 points, 18 rebounds) and Doug Roth (10 points, 10 rebounds) recorded double-doubles and Tennessee beat Vanderbilt 79-69 in overtime in Stokely Athletics Center February 4th, 1987, in Knoxville.

Dick Johnston made six free throws in double-overtime to lift UT to a 77-72 win over the Dores in Nashville on February 2nd, 1970. Jimmy England led the charge with 27 points, and Bobby Croft had an 18-16 double-double.

Danny Schultz holds UT’s single-game scoring record against Vanderbilt, as he dropped 35 points on the Dores on February 15th, 1964, in Nashville.

Tennessee All-Century Team member Paul “Lefty” Walther (1948-49) never lost to Vanderbilt during his career as a Vol. The Covington, Kentucky, native helped lead Tennessee to a 4-0 record over the Dores, beating Vandy by an average of 9.8 points.

Last Meeting With Vanderbilt

Behind a season-best 23 points from freshman Jordan Bone [4], Tennessee defeated in-state and SEC foe Vanderbilt, 87-75, on January 14th, 2017, in Nashville. The win gave UT its third true road victory of the season.

Playing his first collegiate game in his home city of Nashville, Bone dropped 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including a 4-of-5 mark from three. Entering Saturday’s game, Bone was just 1-for-10 from distance in his career. The true freshman also dished out five assists.

Four more Vols scored in double figures at Memorial Gym. Admiral Schofield [8] finished with 15 points while Robert Hubbs III [2], Lamonté Turner and Grant Williams [1] each finished with 12. Williams added nine rebounds and four blocks—both game-highs.

Tennessee led the majority of the game, shooting a season-best 58.6 percent (34-of-58) from the field to keep Vanderbilt at bay.

In the first half, UT used 55 percent shooting and a hard-nosed defensive span during which the Commodores were held without a field goal for six minutes to take a 39-34 lead into halftime.

Vanderbilt attempted only 18 first-half shots compared to UT’s 33, but the Dores kept things close by going 13-for-16 at the free-throw line. Tennessee did not attempt a free throw during the opening half.

Williams corralled three of UT’s six offensive rebounds before the break, helping the Big Orange to an 11-0 edge in second-chance points over the first 20 minutes.

Vols Made Memorial Gym History

Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gym opened in 1952, and on January 14th, Tennessee posted its highest-ever points total at that historic venue as the Vols defeated the Commodores, 87-75.

The 87 points were also the most UT had scored against its in-state rival in any game since February 21st, 1998, when it defeated Vanderbilt 90-76 in Knoxville.

Are You Not Entertained?

Most basketball fans prefer for their team to play a high-scoring brand of hoops. Hello, Big Orange.

In 61 games under head coach Rick Barnes [5] (spanning less than two full seasons), Tennessee has scored 80 or more points 22 times. That equates to 36.1 percent of UT’s total games under Barnes’ direction. And the Vols are 20-2 in those contests (.909).

In the four full seasons prior to Barnes’ arrival on Rocky Top, Tennessee reached the 80-point mark a total of 24 times (in 136 games).

Tennessee has scored 90 or more eight times during the Barnes era, and the Vols have hit 100 once.

Durant Extends Barnes’ NBA All-Star Streak

At least one of Rick Barnes’ former collegiate players has been selected as an NBA All-Star for each of the last eight years, as Golden State Warriors star and Olympic gold medalist Kevin Durant was a starter for the West squad on Sunday.

Over the last eight years, Durant and forward LaMarcus Aldridge have combined to give former Barnes’ players a total of 13 All-Star appearances.

Up Next for UT Vols

Tennessee heads out on a two-game road swing, beginning this weekend with a Saturday contest at South Carolina (12:00pm CT, SEC Network).

Saturday marks the second meeting of the season between the Vols and Gamecocks after South Carolina earned a 70-60 victory over UT on January 11th.

From there, Tennessee heads to LSU next Wednesday before returning home the following Saturday for the regular-season finale against Alabama.