KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – A season-high 30 points from freshman Jaden Springer and an efficient night from the field pushed the 16th-ranked Tennessee basketball team past Georgia, 89-81, on Wednesday at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Springer’s 30 points were the most by a Tennessee freshman since Grant Williams poured in 30 against Georgia on Feb. 11, 2017, and it was the first time a Tennessee player has scored 30-plus points since Williams scored 43 at Vanderbilt on Jan. 23, 2019.
Georgia (12-7, 5-7 SEC) was led in scoring by K.D. Johnson, who closed the night with 22 points and three rebounds.
Tennessee sophomore Josiah-Jordan James dropped in a career-high 18 points on 5-of-8 shooting and also added six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a pair of steals.
Fellow sophomore Santiago Vescovi added 19 points and six rebounds of his own while converting on all eight of his attempts from the free-throw line—with multiple makes at the charity stripe in the game’s closing moments.
Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week Keon Johnson contributed 11 points. His performance was highlighted by a Sportscenter-worthy poster dunk to help spark the Vols in the second half.
Tennessee (14-4, 7-4 SEC) controlled the game’s opening 15 minutes, holding Georgia to a 36 percent shooting mark from the field. The Vols, meanwhile, shot 58 percent en route to an early 31-21 lead.
The remainder of the half saw a flurry of baskets for UT, which outscored Georgia 13-5 over the final five minutes to take a 44-26 lead into the locker room.
The Vols’ eight first-half 3-pointers were the most attempts they had converted from 3-point range in a single half all season. Tennessee made 10 3-pointers on the night to tie its season-high.
The Volunteers continued to dictate the pace in the second half, stretching their lead to as many as 23 in the first 10 minutes after halftime.
UT withstood Georgia’s late push, remaining steady at the foul line to walk away with the eight-point victory.
Jaden’s Night: Along with his 30 points Wednesday, Jaden Springer pulled down four rebounds, nabbed a season-high-tying three steals, recorded a pair of assists and finished the night with a team-best +15 plus/minus rating. Paired with his 23-point outing during Saturday’s win at Kentucky, the two-time SEC Freshman of the Week has 53 points over his last two games.
Up Next: The Vols hit the road this weekend for a Saturday matinee at LSU. Tipoff from Baton Rouge is slated for 2 p.m. ET on ESPN2.