Tennessee sports one of the toughest defenses in the country. The Volunteers are third in the nation allowing 57.5 points per game and third in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency rating, allowing 87.9 points per 100 possessions against an average opponent.
Yet, twice now, Mizzou’s offense has pushed Tennessee’s rampaging defense beyond its limits. The Volunteers have conceded 70 points in six matches this season. Two of those contests were against the Tigers, most recently a 79-71 loss to Mizzou in the SEC quarterfinals on Friday.
senior forward kobe brown Scored 21 points in the team’s first meeting with Tennessee, an 86–85 road victory on February 11. Brown was second on the team with 24 points against the Volunteers on Friday, behind only senior guard d’moi hodge With 26. Players have scored 20 points against Tennessee only 11 times this year — Brown and Hodge account for three of them.
Hodge said, “I think they guard the ball well as far as trying to penetrate and keep us from getting in.” “But the way we play offense, we always leave, so we know the gaps. We practice every day, so we know where we’re going to find open shots. We just had to knock them down.
One way the Tigers were able to attack the Volunteers’ defense on Friday was by executing their after-timeout (ATO) plays. 13 timeouts were called during the SEC Tournament matchup. Tennessee had possession of the ball coming out of five of them. But Missouri found the hoop five times in the other eight.
The Tigers missed their first two ATO shots, but scored on the third. volunteer senior guard Josiah-Jordan James The whistle was called for a deadball foul, causing a timeout on the floor and allowing Mizzou to take two free throws and retain possession of the ball. senior point guard Sean East II He went 1-2 on his foul shots and Brown got it down on a layup with the following possession to make it a 3-point swing.
Hodge was the main beneficiary of the team’s ATO plays in the second half, connecting twice for five points. Excluding East’s free throws, MU finished the game scoring 12 points on ATO plays, all coming from Brown and Hodge.
During an unofficial timeout in which officials were reviewing an out-of-bounds call with 1:41 remaining in the game, head coach Dennis Gates told the players to train themselves. By the time he stepped into the huddle, he already knew what sport he was going to participate in. This resulted in a 3-pointer by Hodge from the left wing that put the Tigers up by two scores, 75–69.
“The only thing we did well tonight, the one thing we did well tonight, after timeouts, we were able to execute offensively,” Gates said. “Every time I called a timeout, our guys locked in and executed… I’m proud of that. I’m excited about what we’re seeing because I don’t think we’ve played our best so far this season.” Hopefully, you want to peak at the right time.”
The No. 4 seed Tigers will look to keep their offense going when they face No. 1 seed Alabama in the SEC Semifinals on Saturday at noon CT.
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