BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – A career-high 23 points from sophomore guard Santiago Vescovi and a smothering defensive display propelled the ninth-ranked Tennessee basketball team past Texas A&M, 68-54, on Saturday at Reed Arena.
Tennessee (9-1, 3-1 SEC) held Texas A&M (6-4, 1-3 SEC) to 34 percent shooting from the field (16-of-47), while converting on nearly 60 percent of its own field-goal attempts (27-of-46).
The Vols .587 shooting percentage was a season-high, narrowly eclipsing their .583 performance in the home victory over Tennessee Tech last month.
Vescovi’s 23 points came on a career-high eight made field goals and a career-high-tying six made attempts from 3-point range. Vescovi also reeled in five rebounds, dished off three assists and recorded a pair of steals.
Senior Wooden Award candidate John Fulkerson scored 11 points, pulled in five boards and blocked three shots for the second consecutive contest.
Vols freshman Jaden Springer made his first career start and posted 10 points and a season-high-tying six assists.
Josiah-Jordan James continued his consistent stretch of play in all areas of the gmae, grabbing a pair of rebounds, nabbing a pair of steals and dishing out five assists with no turnovers.
The opening eight minutes were highlighted by Vescovi’s hot shooting, as he knocked down his first four attempts from 3-point range to help give UT a 16-9 advantage at the under-12 media break.
The Vols maintained control for the remainder of the half, never relinquishing the lead and taking a 37-30 lead into the locker room.
Tennessee used its stifling defense to fend off A&M through the duration the second half, stretching its lead to as many as 18 before walking away with the 68-54 triumph.
Vols Assist Vols: Tennessee assisted on 23 of its 27 made field goals, marking a season-high assist percentage of .852.