Tennessee Basketball Falls 80-69 to Ole Miss Rebels: 3 Takeaways from Vols’ Loss

Tennessee basketball fell 80-69 to the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford Tuesday night. Here are three takeaways from the Volunteers’ loss.

Despite a 15-point lead in the second half and one of the Rebels’ starters leaving the game, Tennessee basketball could not close the deal in Mississippi. The Vols fell to the Ole Miss Rebels 80-69.

The loss dropped Tennessee to 9-9 on the year and 2-4 in the SEC, while Ole Miss improved to 11-7, and they are also now 2-4 in the SEC.

Tennessee blew a golden opportunity with the loss to get its first win against a Top 50 RPI team. Given their strength of schedule, they don’t need much to get into the NCAA Tournament, but they need more quality wins than they are getting.

And after beating the Vanderbilt Commodores on the road last Saturday while hosting the Mississippi State Bulldogs this week, they would have had a great chance to go on a three-game winning streak getting set to play the Kentucky Wildcats next week.

As it is, Tennessee basketball is back to playing catch-up. Here are three takeaways from the Vols’ loss to the Rebels.

1. Tennessee basketball still can’t deal with success.

A road win over the Vanderbilt Commodores was great on Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak. Against the Ole Miss Rebels, they were in perfect position to steal a second straight road win.

The young Vols got red-hot at the end of the first half and carried it into the second half, building a 54-39 lead. Then, inexplicably, they began jacking three-pointers and forcing quick shots. There was absolutely no reason for them to blow this lead, especially when Rasheed Brooks was taken to the hospital due to a seizure. But Barnes’s team still feels itself way too much whenever anything good happens. And there is one major culprit for that. He’s our next takeaway.

2. Lamonte Turner needs to gain consistency. 

For the third straight game, Lamonte Turner scored in double figures off the bench for Tennessee basketball. As a combo guard, Rick Barnes has to be happy with the way he has developed. He finished with BLANK points, and added five assists. However, he also cost the Vols.

However, Turner also has to learn control. He finished BLANK-of-BLANK and also nailed BLANK three-pointers. But he went ice-cold down the stretch and was feeling himself a bit too much, including forcing a few shots on drives. He did miss a few good looks, which you can’t be mad at, but at least twice he drove into traffic, and he also forced multiple quick threes, including two late in the game with under two minutes left.

3. Hustle by the big men has to be much better.

Ole MIss shot 1-of-14 from three, which should have been more than enough for Tennessee basketball to pull out the win. Yet they still managed to lose the game by 10 points. How the heck could that happen?

The forwards were awful. All they could do was foul. Grant Williams fouled out with only five points, Kyle Alexander had three fouls and six points, Lew Evans had four fouls and three points, and Admiral Schofield had three fouls and four points. Meanwhile, Ole Miss’s two starting forwards, Sebastian Saiz and Justas Furmanavicius, combined for 32 points while adding 10 and nine rebounds respectively. Oh, and the Vols’ forwards shot 4-of-10 overall from the free throw line. So all in all, Tennessee basketball was atrocious down low.

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