Tennessee gives up 17-point lead, falls to Auburn.
By: John Dunn
The All Vol Call in Show
The 15-11 Tennessee Volunteers took the road on Saturday to take on the 13th-ranked Tigers of Auburn, and highly-regarded former University of Tennessee coach, Bruce Pearl.
With Auburn losing three-straight games prior to their match up with the “Big Orange”, they were desperate for a victory on their home court.
Tennessee got off to a good start against Auburn, with both teams trading buckets through the opening minutes.
After gaining the lead, Tennessee attempted to expound upon their lead. With just over five minutes remaining in the first half, the Vols’ lead grew to seven, allowing them to maintain a 41-33 advantage at the half.
Vescovi, Gaines, Pons, Johnson and Bowden all played pivotal roles in Tennessee’s first half performance.
Bowden connected on five-of-six shots from the field, including two-of-three from deep. Vescovi connected on some big shots as well, while dictating the pace of the first half.
Gaines and Johnson provided big minutes off the bench for Tennessee, and Pons continued to prove why he is one of the best defensive players in the nation.
As play resumed in the second half, the Vols’ lead grew to as many as 17-points, at 54-37. However, an 18-0 run by Auburn pulled them back to the lead, at 55-54 with 7:21 remaining in the game.
Tennessee regained the lead at 56-55 on a shot by Johnson before Auburn regained the lead at 57-56 moments later.
An exchange of questionable calls led to a back foot cut by Bowden that was them finished fervently, giving Tennessee a 60-59 lead.
Auburn regained and grew their lead to 64-62 with just over two minutes remaining. However, Tennessee ties the game at 64-64 before a three pointer by the Tigers gave them a 67-64 lead with 1:25 remaining.
The teams traded buckets for a pair of possessions, before Auburn stepped to the free throw line, connecting on pivotal free throws, allowing them to secure a 73-66 victory.