Tennessee forward John Fulkerson (10) passes the ball away from Mississippi State forward Garrison Brooks (10) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Miss., Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Tennessee Dominates Mississipi State to Continue Winning Streak

The Tennessee Volunteers took down the Mississippi State Bulldogs 72-63 Wednesday night.

Tennessee had a disadvantage going into the game, as it was the first game without its starting power forward, Olivier Nkamhoua. He is suffering from an ankle injury from the game against South Carolina Saturday. In the first half, Mississippi’s intense physicality resulted in the Volunteers giving too many fouls.

Tennessee’s Beginning Struggles

“We fouled way too much early, but you’ve got to give them credit for that,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes acknowledged. “They put such intense pressure on you inside. We knew that those shots in there, they get them on the glass, it was gonna be a high-level, physical game around the rim.”

However, the Vols powered through by outplaying the Bulldogs through their scoring, rebounds, steals and changing defense to man-on-man.

Tennessee Player Highlight

The most impactful players for the Vols was Kennedy Chandler. He scored 18 points and had five steals. Josiah-Jordan James followed up with 18 points. This game also made Josh Fullerton the SEC’s conference career leader in playing games, this was his 153rd SEC game.

Toward the end of the second half, Mississippi State and Tennessee were tied at 61 points with less than three minutes. Then the Vols battled through by the actions of Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi. Zeigler made all four free throws, and Vescovi had crucial rebounds and solidified the score through the eight points he made.

Mississippi State’s Struggles

Tennessee’s intense defense in the second half is what defined the game’s outcome, though. Toward the end of the half, the Vols were playing heavy defense on starting guard Iverson Molinar who struggled to execute plays. Chandler and Zieglar’s defense created issues among the Bulldog’s offensive play.

What’s Next?

Tennessee will have a home game against Vanderbilt Saturday at 6 p.m.

Mississippi State will be back on the road, playing LSU Saturday at 8 p.m.

About Cristina Santiago

Cristina Santiago is a senior at the University of Florida studying journalism with a concentration in sports and media.

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