Bailey, Springer lead No. 25 Vols past depleted Commodores

·2 min read

Feb. 25—Tennessee entered Vanderbilt's Memorial Gym on Wednesday night with no members of the No. 25 Volunteers having ever lost in the building.

They came away unscathed yet again.

Redshirt junior guard Victor Bailey continued his late-season surge by scoring 21 points, and the Vols pulled out a 70-58 downing of the Commodores, who played without top scorers Scotty Pippen Jr. and Dylan Disu due to injuries. Pippen and Disu entered the rivalry showdown averaging a combined 35.5 points per contest, with Disu leading the Southeastern Conference with 9.2 rebounds a game.

Bailey connected on five of eights attempts from 3-point range to help the Vols improve to 16-6 overall and 9-6 in SEC play, while freshman guard Jaden Springer added 20 points on the strength of a 10-for-10 showing from the free-throw line.

Tennessee has now won five consecutive times in Memorial Gym and has won 10 of the past 11 meetings with the Commodores overall. Wednesday night marked the 201st game in Tennessee-Vanderbilt history, with the Vols increasing their series lead to 126-75.

Bailey connected on three 3-pointers during the first half, when the Vols built a 32-22 advantage, and his fourth 3-pointer with 16:58 remaining capped a 7-0 start to the second half for a 39-22 bulge. The Commodores got back into the game from long range, making 13 3-pointers in all, and pulled within 56-52 on a Maxwell Evans dunk with 4:27 remaining.

That was as close as the Commodores came, as Tennessee responded with a 10-2 run.

Isaac McBride's 3-pointer at the 14:37 mark of the first half put the Commodores up 9-7, but the Vols countered with 10 straight points, with consecutive Bailey 3-pointers putting Tennessee up 17-9. Vandy answered that 10-0 run with an 11-0 surge of its own, with a Trey Thomas 3-pointer with 6:44 before halftime giving the hosts a 20-17 advantage, but the Vols closed the half on a 15-2 run.

The Vols grabbed their double-digit lead at the break despite struggles from freshman guard Keon Johnson, who scored one point and committed four turnovers. Johnson finished with six points on just 1-of-6 shooting and had six turnovers.

Tennessee sophomore guard/forward Josiah-Jordan James returned to action after missing the past two games with a sprained wrist, scoring two points as he also shot 1-for-6. Vols senior forward Yves Pons had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Thomas scored 14 points, while Evans added 13 and McBride 11 for Vanderbilt, which dropped to 6-13 overall and 2-11 in the SEC.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524. Follow him on Twitter @DavidSPaschall.