Balanced Tennessee pulls away from Missouri late

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) – Jordan Bowden scored 14 points to lead a balanced Tennessee offense in a 69-59 victory over Missouri on Tuesday.

Six players scored in double figures for the Volunteers (9-5, 1-1 Southeastern Conference), who outscored the Tigers by 10 points over the final six minutes. John Fulkerson, Josiah-Jordan James, Jalen Johnson, Yves Pons and Santiago Vescovi each scored 11.

Tray Jackson scored a career-high 11 and Mitchell Smith added 11 points for the Tigers (8-6, 0-2 SEC).

Tennessee entered the game ranked 13th in the SEC in shooting percentage (.426), while Missouri was the league leader in field-goal percentage defense (.365). The Volunteers weren’t bothered in the least, shooting 53.5% overall and 45.8% from 3-point range.

The teams combined for eight traveling violations in the first half, but Tennessee cleaned up its act in the final minutes and scored the final six points to take a 32-28 halftime lead. Johnson, who entered the game averaging 2.4 points, scored 11 first-half points on 3-of-4 shooting from 3-point range.

The game was tied at 53 with six minutes left before Vescovi went on a personal 8-0 run to start the Volunteers’ late surge.

BIG PICTURE

Missouri: Junior forward Jeremiah Tilmon sat out with a stress fracture in his left foot. A team spokesman said Tilmon, who was on crutches Tuesday, is out indefinitely. A preseason second-team All-SEC pick, Tilmon has struggled to stay on the court this season because of frequent foul trouble and recently the sore foot. He is averaging 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20.9 minutes per game.

Tennessee: After a splashy debut against LSU on Saturday, mid-year enrollee Vescovi was invisible for the first 35 minutes against Missouri. He then went on a personal 8-0 run to break open a tie game. A native of Uruguay, Vescovi was scoreless until he hit back-to-back 3-pointers, stole an in-bounds pass and made a layup to give the Volunteers a 61-53 lead with 4:25 left. He finished with nine points against Missouri after making six 3-pointers and scoring 18 points against LSU.

UP NEXT

Missouri: The Tigers face Florida on Saturday at home.

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