~ from UTAD
BATON ROUGE, La. – The 18th-ranked Tennessee basketball team rallied in the second half, but eventually fell on the road to No. 21 LSU Saturday night, 79-67.
Freshman guard Kennedy Chandler led Tennessee with 19 points. Junior guard Santiago Vescovi added 14, while junior forward Uros Plavsic had a season-high 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting along with seven rebounds off the bench.
Sophomore Tari Eason led the way for LSU with 24 points. Second-chance points played a major role in the game, as LSU outscored Tennessee, 18-5.
After holding a seven-point lead at halftime, LSU was hot out of the gates in the second half, exploding for a 20-7 run that extended its lead to 20 points at 62-42.
Refusing to go away quietly, Tennessee responded by gradually chipping away at the Tigers’ lead, cutting it down to as few as five points at 71-66 on a Vescovi 3-pointer with three minutes remaining.
Following Vescovi’s three, two straight fast-break layups from LSU guard Brandon Murray and Eason quickly pushed the Tigers’ lead back to nine points, paving the way for LSU’s 12-point win.
After controlling the majority of the opening period, LSU took a 42-35 lead into the halftime break. The Tigers led for 11:20 of the first half, pulling in front by as many as 10. LSU’s 42 first-half points were Tennessee’s most given up to an opponent this season.
Tennessee took an early six-point lead at 9-3 on a 3-pointer by Vescovi, but LSU responded immediately with a 13-2 run to pull ahead for good.
Chandler led the Vols with 14 points in the first half on 5-for-7 shooting.
UP NEXT: Tennessee returns to Thompson-Boling Arena for a matchup with South Carolina on Tuesday. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.