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Vols win big against Kansas 80-61

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And it wasn't really that close..


Seniors Yves Pons and John Fulkerson wanted some payback after losing to Kansas each of the past two seasons.

Pons scored 17 points with Fulkerson adding 11 as No. 18 Tennessee never trailed Saturday in beating the 15th-ranked Jayhawks 80-61 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“I was really excited about playing them because I wanted to get my revenge, and that's what we did tonight," Pons said.

The Volunteers (12-3) won their second straight and notched their second win against a top-15 opponent this season, a much-needed boost to their resume after COVID-19 issues scratched No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 14 Wisconsin and also a trip to Notre Dame.

This was just Tennessee's second win all-time against Kansas in six games. The Vols now are 5-2 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, which the SEC won this season 5-4 for only the second time.

Jaden Springer scored 13 for Tennessee, whose only losses have been without the freshman this season. Victor Bailey Jr. had 11 apiece, and Josiah-Jordan James had nine points and 11 rebounds. Pons, the reigning SEC defensive player of the year, was 7 of 9 and knocked down a pair of 3s after scoring 24 in a loss at Kansas last season.

“He was just phenomenal tonight,” James said.

Kansas (11-6) has lost four of five, the first time the Jayhawks have done that in a five-game span since Roy Williams’ first season as head coach in 1988-89. Kansas is 4-4 against ranked opponents this season and 5-3 all-time in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.

“We were bad and Tennessee was great," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I don’t think we did anything to make them play poorly. And I think they did a lot of things to make us play poorly.”

David McCormack led the Jayhawks with 17 points, Marcus Garrett added 15 and Jalen Wilson had 10.

Keon Johnson opened the scoring with a jumper and Santiago Vescovi added a 3 as Tennessee grabbed the lead from the start. Kansas missed its first three shots and had a shot clock violation before McCormack hit a short jumper with 16:51 left for the Jayhawks' first points.

McCormack scored six of Kansas' first eight points, pulling them within 9-8 with 14:47 left. That was as close as the Jayhawks would get.

The Vols led by as much as 16 in the first half inside the final minute before Tyon Grant-Foster's layup pulled Kansas within 40-26 at halftime.

The Jayhawks tried to make a run to start the second half with Ochai Abgaji scoring back-to-back buckets to pull them within 47-35. Tennessee scored the next nine points and led as 26 down the stretch.

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Yeah Kansas isn't the general powerhouse they usually are. Still, talented. I'll say a good win. I'm really looking forward to the rematch against Florida on the tenth. Hope the pay them back for that loss last month. When Fulkerson and Pons are on along with the new guys, Tennessee is formidable. They could do some damage in the tourney. 

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This was a damn good win for the Vols.


Coming in Kansas was 4-3 vs ranked teams for the year. With losses only to the #1, #2, and #8 ranked teams. 



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I would agree. I get the point about them not being as good as usual but still it's Kansas. They got talent

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