Pons scores 17 as No. 18 Tennessee beats No. 15 Kansas 80-61

Pons scores 17 as No. 18 Tennessee beats No. 15 Kansas 80-61

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Yves Pons scored 17 factors and No. 18 Tennessee by no means trailed Saturday in beating Fifteenth-ranked Kansas 80-61 within the Large 12/SEC Problem.

The Volunteers (12-3) gained their second straight and notched their second win in opposition to a top-15 opponent this season, a much-needed enhance to their resume after COVID-19 points scratched No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 14 Wisconsin and in addition a visit to Notre Dame.

This was simply Tennessee’s second win all-time in opposition to Kansas in six video games. The Vols now are 5-2 within the Large 12/SEC Problem.

Jaden Springer scored 13 for Tennessee, whose solely losses have been with out the freshman this season. John Fulkerson and Victor Bailey Jr. had 11 apiece, and Josiah Jordan-James had 9 factors and 11 rebounds.

Kansas (11-6) has misplaced 4 of 5 and dropped to 4-4 in opposition to ranked opponents this season. The Jayhawks dropped to 5-3 within the Large 12/SEC Problem.

David McCormack led the Jayhawks with 17 factors, Marcus Garrett added 15 and Jalen Wilson had 10.

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Keon Johnson opened the scoring with a jumper and Santiago Vescovi added a 3 as Tennessee grabbed the lead from the beginning. Kansas missed its first three photographs and had a shot clock violation earlier than McCormack hit a brief jumper with 16:51 left for the Jayhawks’ first factors.

McCormack scored six of Kansas’ first eight factors, pulling them inside 9-8 with 14:47 left. That was as shut because the Jayhawks would get.

Tennessee shot the ball very properly, and a Vols protection ranked sixth within the NCAA in scoring protection, permitting simply 59.3 factors a recreation, made the Jayhawks work for each level. Kansas shot solely 7 of 26 by the primary 20 minutes and saved from being blown out by hitting 11 of 12 on the free throw line.

The Vols led by as a lot as 16 within the first half inside the ultimate minute earlier than Tyon Grant-Foster’s layup pulled Kansas inside 40-26 at halftime.

The Jayhawks tried to make a run to begin the second half with Ochai Abgaji scoring back-to-back buckets to tug them inside 47-35. Tennessee answered by scoring the subsequent 9 factors and constructed the lead as much as as a lot as 26 on a pair of free throws by Springer at 71-45 with 7:24 remaining.

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BIG PICTURE

Kansas: This would possibly not assist the Jayhawks burnish their very own resume for postseason play, and there is nonetheless a visit to Texas, which beat them by 25 on Jan. 2, and one other recreation in opposition to No. 2 Baylor left in convention play. … The Jayhawks need to work on their capturing. They wound up going 6 of 24 outdoors the arc and simply 15 of twenty-two on the free throw line.

Tennessee: The Vols have confirmed they will play stingy protection, they usually dominated on the boards 38-23, scoring 14 second-chance factors. This recreation confirmed why they had been picked to win the SEC title this season by placing collectively a formidable offensive efficiency. They shot 52.8% (28 of 53) and eight of 13 from 3 (61.5%) and 16 of 17 on the line.

BRAGGING RIGHTS

Tennessee coach Rick Barnes now has 721 profession victories. He got here into this recreation because the seventh-winningest lively coach in Division I, simply forward of Invoice Self with 719. Barnes additionally notched his eighth head-to-head win over Self, most of any coach. Tom Izzo of Michigan State has seven wins over Self.

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UP NEXT

Kansas hosts Kansas State on Tuesday evening.

Tennessee visits Ole Miss on Tuesday evening.

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Comply with Teresa M. Walker at https://twitter.com/TeresaMWalker

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Extra AP school basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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