Vols fall short of upset of Kansas in SEC-Big12 Challenge
By: John Dunn
The All Vol Call in Show
(Lawrence, KS) — The 12-6 Tennessee Volunteers traveled for Lawrenc, KS to take on the Kansas Jayhawks in the SEC-Big12 Challenge. Yves Pons set a new career high in points scored with 24. Jordan Bowden looked much more like himself in the second half, totaling 19 points for the game. John Fulkerson notched another double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Coming off of two 20+ point wins, the Vols were looking to take advantage of, and upset a depleted Jayhawk squad.
Both teams struggled in the opening minutes of the game, with Kansas breaking the ice on a lay up early on.
John Fulkerson answered with a lay up to tie the game before Santiago Vescovi gave Tennessee their first lead of the game on a coast-to-coast lay up, giving the Vols a 4-2 advantage.
After trading buckets, the Jayhawks went on a 5-0 run to take an 11-6 lead before Fulkerson delivered a short shot through contact to shorten the gap to three points, 11-8, prior to a trip to the charity stripe.
After a successful free throw, the score sat at 11-9 in favor of the home team with just over ten and a half minutes remaining in the first half.
After a strong defensive stand on the ensuing play, Vescovi connected on a three point jumper, giving the Vols a 12-11 lead. The Jayhawks regained the lead on the following play, 13-12.
Vescovi stepped to the charity stripe after connecting on a layup through contact, but missed the free-throw, Tennessee maintained a 14-13 lead. Yves Pons delivered a three-point jumpshot to extend Tennessee’s lead to 17-13.
On the ensuing play, Pons again connected on a three pointer from the top of the key, their third in a row, giving the Vols a 20-13 advantage.
Bill Self had seen enough and elected to take a time out, attempting to halt the momentum of a 12-2 run.
Kansas began to chip away at the lead, inevitably pulling to within five points at 24-19 with just under six minutes remaining.
A pair of free throws from Pons increased the lead to 26-19. After checking out with 10:39 remaining in the half due to earning a second foul, Azubuike checked back into the game.
He wasted no time making an impact with an emphatic dunk. After a fast break lay up from the Jayhawks, it was a one possession game.
A lay up through contact by Moss, earned Kansas an opportunity for an old fashion three-point play. However, the free-throw was missed, but Kansas was able to come down with an offense of rebound forcing Fulkerson to pick up his second foul.
A hard foul by Olivier Nkamhoua was called a flagrant-one, resulting in the Jayhawks maintaining possession after taking the lead on one free throw, 27-26, with just over four minutes remaining in the first half.
Azubuike gave Kansas a three point lead on another big dunk, 29-26. Again, he delivered an emphatic flush, extending the Jayhawk lead to 31-26.
Pond answered with a turnaround jump shot, drawing the score back to 31-28 with under three minutes remaining.
On the ensuing play, Vescovi handed off a nice pass to Pons underneath the rim, which he flushed hard, bringing the score back to within one, 31-30.
Kansas finished the final minutes of the first half on a 6-0 run, only a fraction of their 16-4 run beginning when Azubuike checked back into the game, allowing them to hold a 37-30 lead at the half.
The teams traded buckets to open the second half, before a three from Brown gave Kansas their largest lead of the game at 47-37.
Bowden then connected on a pair of free throws after playing limited minutes in the first half. The Jayhawks tallied two free throws from Brown on the ensuing play to re-extend their lead to 10 points at 49-39.
Bowden cut the lead back to single digits, 49-42 with his second three of the second half. A free throw and a three pointer from Kansas resulted in their largest lead of the game at 53-42.
A few pays later, a great pass from Vescovi set Bowden up for his third three of the second half, cutting the Jayhawk lead back to single digits, 55-47. Bowden again delivered for Tennessee on offense, driving to the rim and finishing a layup through contact, he drew the score to within six points, 55-49, prior to a free throw.
After a successful free throw, the Vols drew back to within four points, 56-52, before Garrett stepped to the line for a fair of free throws, giving Kansas a 58-52 advantage.
Pons then answered with a flush on the other end, pulling back to within four, 58-54, before a fast break layup by the Jayhawks saw the score settle at 60-54 with 10 minutes remaining.
With 8:25 remaining, Azubuike earned his fourth foul, sending himself to the bench, and Pons to the line. Pons connected on both Free throws, drawing back to within six points 62-56.
Tennessee put up a great fight in the final minutes of the game, but we’re unable to overcome the deficits created by early game turnovers.