Meow those Vols came on in the second half didn’t they? Okay, that’s enough cringe for tonight. The Vols used a second half onslaught from Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer to beat Kentucky and the Rupp refs 82-71. Here are my main reactions.
FRESHMEN- Usually, I would title this section “offense”, but after tonight, I’m just gonna call it “Freshmen.” Keon Johnson exploded for a career high 27 points on 9-16 from the field. Meanwhile his running mate, Jaden Springer, poured in 23 points on 9-17. Something that may be overlooked, but shouldn’t be, is Josiah James who posted a double-double, scoring 10 points on 4-10 from the field, 2-6 from three, and grabbing 10 rebounds. John Fulkerson only played 10 minutes due to foul trouble and went scoreless shooting 0-3 from the field. Yves Pons didn’t have his best offensive game either, scoring 6 points on 3-8 from the field.
DEFENSE- When they weren't being called for a foul for breathing, the Vols defense gave Kentucky some trouble (like most defenses have this year, I mean, they’re 5-12) holding them to 38.5% from the field and 23.5% from three. Jaden Springer also blocked 3 shots.
REF’S- Ok, we need to have a come to Jesus meeting with SEC officials. Yes, the Vols won the game in the end, but the officiating in that game was absolutely atrocious. How we continue to allow them to be so bad on a consistent basis and not punish them or hold them accountable is maddening. Yes, when you play in Rupp you expect to play 7 on 5, but tonight was easily one the worst ref’d games I have ever seen. At one point, an official actually physically shoved Ej Anosike. That is inexcusable, I don’t care who the ref or player is, and for the love of Pat Summitt, please stop letting Dick Vitale call games. It’s time to hang it up, Dickie.
After the Vols tidy up the living room, flush the toilets, and turn off the lights on what is their home away from home, they will travel back to TBA to host the Gators for what the Vols hope will be a revenge game. That game is currently scheduled for Wednesday night at 8 pm and will air on ESPN2.
Written by: Dallas Bowlin