I expected Tennessee to have a little bit of a hangover from the big win over Kansas. So it was no real surprise to me when Auburn jumped out to an early lead at Thompson-Boling arena. Then the Tigers behind 10 first-half three pointers, stretched the lead to 12, and I got a little worried.
However, Bruce Pearl got the Vols back on track and the Big Orange went on a nice run to take a one-point lead at the end of the first half. Tennessee then went on to shoot 65.5 percent in the second half, while Auburn went cold from three only going 1-11. When the buzzer sounded, Tennessee won 81-55.
What really sparked the turnaround was Tennessee's defensive pressure. When they were down 12 midway through the first half, Tennessee turned up the intensity on defense and Auburn could not respond. Bobby Maze also got on track and made things look easy in the second half, earning my "player of the game honor," ending the game with 14 points and nine assists.
In the Kansas game, Scotty Hopson, Bobby Maze, and Renaldo Woolridge had to step up when Wayne Chism and J.P. Prince were in foul trouble. Chism and Prince returned the favor leading the charge for the Volunteers. Chism had a double-double, 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Prince added 14 points.
Things don't get any easier for Tennessee. They have to get ready to host Ole Miss on Saturday, and then head to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama on Tuesday.
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