Two teams coming off their first true road game of the season with differing results clash Tuesday night in the 2021 Jimmy V. Classic when 13th-ranked Tennessee takes on Texas Tech at New York's Madison Square Garden.
The Volunteers (6-1) enter in a better mood after a 69-54 victory at Colorado,while the Red Raiders (6-1) are eying their first signature win of the season after falling at Providence 72-68 on Wednesday.
Texas Tech played well in its first true test of the season and bolted to a 14-point first-half lead. But a Providence run before halftime, and its sticky defense after the break, led to the Red Raiders' first setback.
"We had the momentum going and our guys were responding early with a great game plan," Texas Tech coach Mark Adams said. "I thought we were the most aggressive team. We got in foul trouble and I thought we lost some of our intensity. They did a great job of changing defenses to a zone and took the momentum from us."
After a fast start, the Red Raiders shot just 34.5 percent in the first half to allow the Friars back in the game. And with veteran leaders Terrance Shannon and Kevin McCullar both in foul trouble early in the second half, Texas Tech's normally aggressive defense watched Providence shoot 52.4 percent from the floor. The Friars also made 28 of 38 free throws.
"We have a lot of depth, but when Kevin and Terrence got into foul trouble, it hurt the flow of the game for us," Adams said. "It was like musical chairs for us bringing guys in and out throughout the game."
There were no such problems for Tennessee in its second victory against a Power 5 foe this season.
The Vols survived Colorado's 8-0 start with a strong offensive performance, led by Kennedy Chandler's 27 points on 13 of 20 field-goal attempts. Tennessee took care of the ball with only 11 turnovers.
"You know the one thing we always talk about is defense and rebounding," Vols coach Rick Barnes said. "We take care of the ball (and) that travels wherever you go. It's going to give you a chance."
The Tennessee defense limited Colorado to just 34.5 percent (19 of 55) from the floor.
"I thought our defensive effort was terrific (Saturday) against a team that is really fast, really quick," said Barnes, whose team also had nine steals and blocked eight shots, led by Josiah-James Jordan with four.
"That helps us on the offensive end where we don't have to grind it every time down the floor. ... We have to have those gap steals or gap strips or gap deflections. With the length, we can get some of that done that way. Other guys get it done with their quickness."
The teams have met only once - a 1953 matchup at Knoxville, Tenn., won 88-71 by Texas Tech. This is the Red Raiders' fourth game at MSG in the last five seasons, including an upset of No. 1 Louisville in the Jimmy V. Classic in 2019.
--Field Level Media