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Josiah-Jordan James propels No. 9 Tennessee past LSU

Jan 21, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers forward Derek Fountain (20) knocks the ball away from Tennessee Volunteers guard Zakai Zeigler (5) during the first half at Pete Maravich Assembly Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Josiah-Jordan James scored 22 points, Zakai Zeigler had a double-double and No. 9 Tennessee rolled past host LSU 77-56 on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

Zeigler had 12 points and 10 assists, Julian Phillips and Tyreke Key each added 10 points for the Volunteers (16-3, 6-1 Southeastern Conference).

Tennessee welcomed back leading scorer Santiago Vescovi (shoulder) and fellow starting guard Key (illness) from one-game absences.

KJ Williams scored 16 points and Trae Hannibal added 10 to lead the Tigers (12-7, 1-6), who lost their sixth consecutive game. Williams, a fifth-year senior and transfer from Murray State, surpassed 2,000 points for his career after eclipsing 1,000 rebounds earlier in the season.

Tennessee outscored LSU 33-7 on points off turnovers.

Vescovi made a 3-pointer to start the second-half scoring, but Williams answered with a basket and a 3-pointer to get LSU within 15.

James scored eight points during a 15-5 run that put Tennessee in command with a 57-32 lead.

LSU made its first three shots before missing its next nine.

The lead changed hands four times in the first two minutes before a jumper by James produced the fifth lead change, giving Tennessee an 8-7 advantage.

The Tigers had five turnovers during a nine-minute field-goal drought. The Vols took a 15-7 lead on a jumper by Tobe Awaka.

Derek Fountain made two free throws for LSU’s first points in more than seven minutes. Moments later his layup ended the field-goal drought and Williams followed with a put-back to pull the Tigers within 16-13.

Vescovi made a 3-pointer for his first points and Phillips added four as Tennessee opened a 24-15 lead.

LSU got within seven before Key made two 3-pointers during a 10-0 run that gave the Vols a 17-point lead.

Williams made a jumper and James answered with a jumper with six seconds left to give Tennessee a 39-22 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media