Kennedy Chandler dominates Colorado in Tennessee basketball 69-54 road win

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  • Kennedy Chandler
    American basketball player
  • Rick Barnes
    Rick Barnes
    American basketball player-coach

Kennedy Chandler drifted from one side of the court to the other Saturday against Colorado.

Then the Tennessee basketball freshman turned it on. He ripped around a screen from John Fulkerson and hesitated to shift the Colorado defense. He slashed down the lane, colliding with Buffaloes guard Elijah Parquet as he guided a layup off the backboard.

Chandler landed on Parquet on his final play of a sensational first half, then got up talking as he ran toward the Vols' bench.

“That was just me being confident in myself and coach (Rick Barnes) telling me to attack," Chandler said. "That is what I did.”

Tennessee’s star freshman scored a career-high 27 points to lead No. 15 Tennessee (6-1) to a 69-54 win at CU Events Center in Boulder, Colorado.

“I told him, I said, 'I think they will let you have all the 3s you want. You are going to have to not settle. You can get to the rim if you want to and you can finish,' " Barnes said.

Chandler scored 12 of Tennessee’s final 14 first-half points. He had 10 points in the final 4:23 of the first half. He was 13-for-20 shooting and was 12-for-14 inside the 3-point line.

Kennedy Chandler lifts Tennessee throughout

Colorado scored the first eight points as Tennessee opened slowly. Chandler got the Vols started with a floater in the lane at the 17:53 mark and never slowed down.

He got to the rim with ease against Colorado (6-3). Chandler had 10 layups.

"Coach Barnes said, 'Don’t settle, attack,' " Chandler said. "I just kept attacking and attacking, going downhill with my speed.”

Chandler had four in the final 4:23, including the dynamic finish at the end of the first half. He also had a pair of nice assists to Fulkerson on back-to-back baskets in the first half.

He was key for the Vols in the final 11:22 of the first half after Santiago Vescovi picked up his second foul.

"I thought we really grew up a little bit more today with Santi out of the game, because Santi normally does a great job of coaching (Chandler) throughout the game," Barnes said.

Chandler answered Colorado's 5-0 run to open the second half with a 3-pointer, his lone in the game. He also cut to the hoop for a layup after the Buffaloes again got UT's lead down to five with 9:10 to play.

Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler drives down the court with the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Tennessee guard Kennedy Chandler drives down the court with the ball in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Tennessee makes winning plays in second half

Tennessee led by as many as 11 early in the second half before Colorado trimmed the lead to five. Barnes called a timeout with 8:19 to play and set up a quick run.

Josiah-Jordan James knocked down a 3-pointer to extend the lead to eight. Uros Plavsic cut down the lane for a layup off a James assist.

Justin Powell capped a sudden 8-0 burst with a 3-pointer after Vescovi tossed a two-handed pass across the court to Powell.

Josiah-Jordan James returns

James had not played in the past three games due to a left hand injury suffered against Villanova on Nov. 20.

The junior guard checked in at the 17:10 mark of the first half. He had five points and nine rebounds.

“Josiah James was phenomenal," Barnes said. "What he did today with only two days of practice and the way he impacted the game on both ends of the court was really, really special today.”

Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler, front, picks up a loose ball as Colorado guard Keeshawn Barthelemy pursues in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler, front, picks up a loose ball as Colorado guard Keeshawn Barthelemy pursues in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Up next

Tennessee faces Texas Tech on Tuesday (7 p.m., ESPN) in the Jimmy V Classic in New York at Madison Square Garden.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Kennedy Chandler dominates Colorado in Tennessee basketball road win

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