No. 8 Tennessee will aim to regain its footing following a loss and remain perfect at home on Wednesday when it hosts in-state foe Austin Peay at Knoxville, Tenn.
The Volunteers (9-2) dropped a 75-70 decision at previously-No. 9 Arizona on Saturday despite Zakai Zeigler scoring a career-high 21 points and Olivier Nkamhoua adding 16. Zeigler made 8 of 11 shots from the floor and 3 of 6 from 3-point range, while Nkamhoua sank 7 of 12 and 2 of 4, respectively.
The remainder of the team shot 12 of 40 from the floor and 3 of 17 from beyond the arc as Tennessee saw its eight-game winning streak come to a halt.
“We have a chance to be a really special team if we keep learning and get everybody to play their role, do what they need to do and just keep getting better because it’s a long way,” Volunteers coach Rick Barnes said. “We’re just getting started. This game will help us.”
Barnes, however, took issue with the officiating in Saturday’s game, as well as the conduct of Volunteers starter Uros Plavsic.
Tennessee only ventured to the free-throw line on 10 occasions after they entered with an average of 25.3 attempts from the line.
Barnes also was irked after the 7-foot-1, 265-pound Plavsic was whistled for a technical foul after appearing to tease Arizona’s Oumar Ballo following a basket.
“I’m not happy with Uros,” Barnes said. “I’m not happy with his antics. Honestly, I’m really tired of it because I think it hurts our team. We want him to be hard-nosed, physical but we don’t need the antics.”
“… He’s got to be more mature than that. He gets a technical foul and people look at him and they see it.”
Zeigler and 2022 first-team All-SEC selection Santiago Vescovi both average a team-leading 11.1 points per game. Nkamhoua has contributed 11.0, while Tyreke Key (10.9) and Julian Phillips (10.7) also averaging in double digits.
Tennessee played without Josiah-Jordan James due to ongoing knee problems that have limited him to five games. James, who is averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds, is nearing a return.
Austin Peay (6-6) saw its second three-game winning streak of the season end following a 68-60 setback at Murray State on Friday.
Elijah Hutchins-Everett made 8 of 11 shots from the floor to finish with 17 points for the Governors. Hutchins-Everett, who also had 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season, averages team-best totals in both points (13.8) and rebounds (7.2).
Sean Durugordon had 14 points for Austin Peay, which fell to 1-3 on the road this season.
Durugordon is averaging 17.5 points over his last four outings, hoisting 53 shots in that span.
–Field Level Media