KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For the fourth game in a row, the Vols flexed their muscles early and never looked back. On Senior Day, Tennessee routed Missouri, 72-45, for its 20th win of the season as the Vols continue their late-season surge.
The Vols (20-11, 11-7 SEC) are playing as well as any team in the nation on both ends of the floor. The victory was Tennessee’s 12th wire-to-wire win on the season and fourth in a row.
Senior Antonio Barton continued his torrid stretch of late — since being re-inserted into the starting lineup. The guard was 4-of-7 from 3-point range and finished 16 points. Over the last three games, Barton is 13-of-22 from beyond the arc. The Vols are 8-0 when he makes three or more trifectas.
Junior Jarnell Stokes had his 18th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
Barton started the Vols off right with a 3-pointer, 53 seconds into the game and Tennessee led the rest of the way. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Derek Reese and Armani Moore put Tennessee up 18-6 with 12:55 left in the first half.
Another 3-pointer by Moore with 10:36 left coupled with Barton’s second trey of the game, gave the Vols a 24-9 lead with seven minutes left in the game.
Tennessee held a 37-18 lead at intermission as the Vols continued to dominate play in the first half. Over its last three games, the Vols have outscored opponents 122-57.
The Vols continued their show in the second half in front of the season-best crowd of 18,519.
A 10-0 run, including two jumpers by Stokes, but Tennessee up 49-25 with 15 minutes left in the game.
The lead ballooned to 28 points on a Barton 3-pointer with 10 minutes left, that put Tennessee up 60-32.
Over the last three games, Tennessee has combined to win three SEC games in the most dominating fashion in nearly 50 years. Not since 1965, when Tennessee won three consecutive league games by a total of 98 points, has UT dominating three SEC teams.
Along with the Vols’ wins by 38 over Vanderbilt and 28 over Auburn and the 27-point win over Missouri, Tennessee has won its last three games by +93.
Missouri (21-10, 9-9 SEC) was held to a season-low of 45 points. The loss by 27 points, is their second-worst since joining the SEC last season. At Florida, last season, the Tigers lost by 29.
The Vols’ defense did tremendous work on one of the SEC’s top scorers again. The league’s top scorer Jabari Brown (21.4 ppg entering the game) was held to eight points and missed his first nine field goal attempts.
In the Vols’ win at Auburn on Wednesday, Tennessee held Chris Denson’s the SEC’s second-leading scorer (19.9 ppg entering the game) to just three points.