No. 7 Tennessee routs No. 12 Missouri 73-53 in SEC opener

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Yves Pons might help Tennessee win video games even with out scoring, but he’s completely able to dominating on offense, too.

On Wednesday night time, the reigning Southeastern Convention defensive participant of the yr did a little bit of every little thing, main the seventh-ranked Volunteers to a 73-53 victory over Twelfth-ranked Missouri.

Pons scored 13 factors, grabbed six rebounds and blocked 4 pictures to assist Tennessee (7-0) win its SEC opener.

“Yves Pons was terrific,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes stated. “That’s the participant we all know he could be. When you may have heard the reception he received when he got here off the TV interview into the locker room, it might present you the respect his teammates have for him.”

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Barnes stated Pons, a bouncy 6-foot-6 senior ahead, can guard any place on the ground. His early blocks brought on Missouri gamers to change their pictures once they received into the lane. The Tigers (6-1) shot simply 36% from the sphere.

“That is what I do. Play laborious on protection, attempt to block pictures, attempt to repair performs,” stated Pons, a local of Haiti who grew up in France.

Pons had loads of offensive assist from an environment friendly Tennessee staff. Santiago Vescovi scored 15 factors, Jaden Springer had 13 and John Fulkerson added 11. The Volunteers relied on their mid-range sport to shoot 50% from the sphere, and so they hit 5 of seven 3-pointers.

Xavier Pinson led Missouri with 11 factors. The Tigers had simply 4 assists and 21 turnovers and have been completely pissed off by Tennessee’s protection.

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“They performed with extra grit, extra toughness and extra focus,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin stated of Tennessee.

Enjoying its first highway sport of the yr, Tennessee was proper at dwelling in Mizzou Area. The Volunteers made their first seven pictures to construct a 21-4 lead. The second half was extra of the identical because the Volunteers hit their first three pictures and scored eight factors within the first minute and a half. Tennessee led by as many as 28 factors.

On consecutive second-half possessions, Tennessee ran isolation performs for Pons on the left wing. Defender Parker Braun backed off, however Pons nonetheless drove previous him to the basket, dunking on the primary drive and drawing a foul on the second. Barnes instructed Pons they’d run the play once more, and the following time he ought to shoot a 3-pointer. Pons by no means received the prospect, leaving not less than one column clean on the stat sheet.

“We’re all simply actually excited for Yves,” Barnes stated. “For a man that works as laborious as he works, as a staff and a workers you get excited when he brings it like he did tonight.”

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee: The Volunteers made certain Missouri didn’t get many possibilities to play at its most well-liked quick tempo, partly as a result of the Tigers started most possessions by pulling the ball from the online. Tennessee gave itself time to get set in its halfcourt protection by making use of some token full-court stress to Missouri’s guards.

Missouri: The Tigers’ offensive weak spot is 3-point capturing. They entered the sport making simply 28% of their 3-pointers. Tennessee backed off Missouri’s shooters and invited them to shoot from lengthy vary. The Tigers couldn’t make the Volunteers pay for that technique, making simply 3 of 16 from past the arc.

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UP NEXT

Tennessee: The Volunteers return dwelling to play Alabama on Saturday.

Missouri: The Tigers go to Arkansas on Saturday.

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