Skip to content

Knecht heats up in 2nd half to help No. 5 Tennessee rally past Mizzou

Ed Zurga / Getty Images Sport / Getty

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Dalton Knecht scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, Tobe Awaka had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 5 Tennessee overcame a slow start to beat Missouri 72-67 on Tuesday night.

Jonas Aidoo added 14 points and Zakai Zeigler 10 for the Volunteers (20-6, 10-3), who trailed by seven in the second half before rallying to win their fifth straight at Mizzou Arena and close within a half game of No. 13 Alabama in the conference race.

Sean East II scored 24 points and Noah Carter had 20 for the Tigers (8-18, 0-13), who have lost 15 of their last 16 overall.

The Vols and Tigers combined for a single point — Carter's free throw for Missouri — over the first four-plus minutes, missing the first 10 field-goal attempts and turning the ball over seven times in a sloppy and disjointed start to the game.

The Tigers didn't make a field goal until Tamar Bates hit a 3-pointer with 10:55 left in the first half.

Tennessee was unable to take advantage, though, because a team that has struggled to get off to good starts the past six weeks had an even tougher time scoring. Knecht missed his first eight shots, the Vols started 0 for 9 from the 3-point arc and they had nearly as many turnovers (eight) as field goals (nine) over the first 20 minutes.

Missouri led 29-26 at the half, the fourth time in the last 12 games that Tennessee was held to 28 points or fewer.

But while the Vols lost the other three games, they were able to overcome their slow start against the Tigers, wiping away a 42-35 deficit in just a couple of minutes midway through the second half Tuesday night.

Knecht's runner in the lane gave Tennessee a 50-49 lead, he buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key on his next trip down the floor, and the SEC's leading scorer wound up scoring 10 points over four consecutive trips to extend the Vols' lead.

Tennessee was never seriously threatened down the stretch.


Tennessee simply looked out of sorts for much of Tuesday night. That included Knecht, who committed only 17 turnovers over his last 16 games but coughed the ball up five times against the Tigers.

Missouri got into foul trouble in the second half, losing big man Jordan Butler to fouls with 10 minutes to go. That not only forced the Tigers to dial back their physical defense but also gave Tennessee too many free points at the line.


Tennessee begins a two-game homestand against Texas A&M on Saturday night.

Missouri plays the first of two games on the road at Arkansas on Saturday.


Get poll alerts and updates on the AP Top 25 throughout the season. Sign up here.


AP college basketball: and

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox