Vols step up without Hopson to defeat Auburn 69-56

by VolNation Staff on February 4, 2011

in tennessee vols basketball

Tenneessee picked up its fifth consecutive conference win on Thursday night, defeating the Auburn Tigers by a score of 69-56.

Without leading scorer Scotty Hopson, who did not travel with the team because of an ankle injury, Brian Williams and Cameron Tatum stepped up with 15 points each and Tobias Harris added 14.

Josh Bone, starting in place of Hopson, finished with eight points and three assists while playing terrific defense against Earnest Ross, who managed just seven points.

“It was exciting, being able to start,” Bone said. “I haven’t done that yet here.”

“I’ve been used to starting a lot of my career, so it wasn’t nothing really new. But at Tennessee it was, and it felt special.”

Tony Jones was also impressed with Bone’s effort, but he was not surprised.

“You know what you are going to get from Josh Bone,” Jones said. “He played well for us last year after the January 1st incident.”

“Josh is focused, he’s mature, he’s strong. He doesn’t force his game.”

Tennessee (15-7, 5-2 SEC) jumped out to a 37-24 halftime lead, thanks to 12 points and six rebounds from Brian Williams.

Auburn (8-14, 1-7) trimmed the lead to 11 to start the second half, but Tigers weren’t able to pull any closer.

Tobias Harris, still hampered by a tender ankle, knocked down two free throws with 9:34 remaining to put Tennesse on top 60-38. But with the outcome all but decided and looking to run clock on every possession, the Vols were outscored down the stretch 18-9.

Tennessee dominated the boards. The Vols out-rebounded the Tigers 38-24, led by eight rebounds from Willams and six from Tatum.

With the win, Tony Jones improved his record to 5-2 as acting head coach.

Tennessee returns home Saturday for a 5:00 p.m. tip off against Alabama at Thompson Boling Arena. It will be the final game of Bruce Pearl’s SEC-mandated eight-game suspension.

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