Tennessee basketball: 3 takeaways from Vols win vs. Cyclones

Tennessee basketball kept the winning streak alive with a statement win beating the Cyclones 68-45. Here are three takeaways from the Vols win.

Finally, Tennessee basketball fans had the chance to watch a game in the second half in total relaxation. The win signifies a three-game winning streak for the program. It wasn’t pretty at first, but the Vols started to pull away against Iowa State and never looked back. Although the Cyclones were only 11-8 on the season, this was a decisive win to push the Vols to 15-5 overall.

This game was the first time this season that the Vols started out sloppy. Iowa State took a 12-5 lead as Tennessee started 1-9 shooting. Grant Williams discovered Lamonte Turner out of a double team for a big 3 points to get the offense ignited. That seemed to solve the shooting woes as the Vols spun a slow start into a 31-19 lead at the half.

Tennessee basketball kept up the defensive intensity and proceeded to impose their style of play on the Cyclones for a win. The boys from Rocky Top are playing good basketball, and the victory helped prove it. The past seven games, the Vols have been on the winning side six times.

With the win, Tennessee travels back home to take on LSU and Ole Miss in the next two games. Not to get too far ahead but Vol fans should be thrilled that their basketball team has an opportunity to take a five-game winning streak into Rupp Arena February 6th. Something tells me this team will not be frightened by Kentucky and the Big Blue Nation.

The Vols played well and earned the road win. This helps the SEC’s case to win the Big 12/SEC Challenge for the first time in the five year history of the challenge. Here are three takeaways from Tennessee basketball’s win against Iowa State.

1. Daniel III was Dialed In

We saw a lot of James Daniel III. Finally, more minutes for the senior guard and he displayed how he was able to average 27.1 points per game in the 2015-2016 season at Howard. Early in the first half, Tennessee basketball’s offense was struggling. Daniel was able to turn that around with his hot shooting.

He shot 5-8 from the field and 3-6 from behind the arc. He had 14 points in the first half, and 16 total but Daniel did more than score. The young guys looked amiss early, but Daniel was able to handle the pressure and run the offense.

We have been pointing the fact that Tennessee looks better with Daniel on the court for a while. It was nice to see him have a significant impact on the win on Saturday.

2. No Williams, No Problem

Okay, I’m not trying to take anything away from Grant Williams’s game against Iowa State. He did have nine points with ten rebounds and added two assists. It feels wrong saying that isn’t a great game, but that’s because of how good Williams has been the past two seasons.

At the half, Williams and Schofield had four points combined. It was nice to see Tennessee win without Williams or Schofield leading the way.

Daniel III and Lamonte Turner chipped in for 36 points combined and led the team in scoring.

For the Vols to make a run in March, they are going to have to win games like today when Williams can’t get going.

3. Lamonte Turner is Terrifying

When Lamonte Turner gets hot, he’s hot, and it is terrifying what he can do to the opposing teams. Turner gave the Vols great production off the bench with 20 points, one steal, two assists, and five rebounds.

The past three games Turner has accounted for 52 points on 10-15 from the 3-point line. He is also a perfect 16-16 from the charity stripe since January 9, 2018.

Bonus Takeaway

Tennessee basketball’s defense finally played an entire game. The past two games Tennessee has held both Vanderbilt and Iowa State under 20 points at the half.

Another nugget for the water-cooler talk on Monday, Tennessee held the Cyclones to a total of 45 points. That is the least amount of points that Iowa State has scored in a game since 2009.

*Kyle Alexander block update: He has had at least one block in each of the past five games. That gives him a total of twelve in that five-game span.*