Stifling defense and balanced scoring by No. 4 Tennessee led to a fourth consecutive home victory over Georgia, as the Vols cruised to a decisive 70-41 win at Thompson-Boling Arena Wednesday night.
The Volunteers’ defensive effort Wednesday was bolstered by Santiago Vescovi’s career-high-tying five steals, as Tennessee held Georgia to just 29.1 percent (16-55) shooting from the field. Offensively, Zakai Zeigler led the way with 11 points and seven assists, while Tobe Awaka was the second Vol in double figures with a career-high 10 on 3-for-3 shooting. Overall, nine different Vols scored five or more points.
Tennessee (17-3, 7-1 SEC), which owns the best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country per KenPom, held an opponent to under 50 points for the 10th time this season, forcing Georgia (13-7, 3-4 SEC) to miss 20 of its 27 field goal attempts in the second half.
Offensively, the Vols doubled the Bulldogs in paint points, 36-18. Freshman Julian Phillips logged a career-high six assists Wednesday night, besting his previous best of four, which came in Tennessee’s win over McNeese State earlier this season. Vescovi was responsible for a team-best plus/minus rating of +29 in UT’s 29-point triumph.
Tennessee takes a brief break from conference play to welcome Texas to town for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. ET on ESPN with radio coverage beginning at 5:30 p.m. on 103.1 FM WIKQ. ESPN College GameDay will also be live from Knoxville on Saturday, broadcasting from Thompson-Boling Arena starting at 11 a.m. ET.