Tennessee sandwiched a non-conference game against Connecticut into their schedule last Saturday. Fortunately, it was just that: a non-conference game. Sitting at 2-2 in the SEC and coming off of two straight conference wins, Tobias Harris and his teammates found out why the 16-2 Huskies are ranked fifth nationally. Connecticut shot nearly 50 percent from the floor and 5-of-11 from 3-point range as the Volunteers dropped a 72 – 61 contest. Harris had 10 points and five rebounds in that contest.
Four nights later, Tennessee rebounded with a convincing conference win against LSU, 75 – 53. It was the Volunteers third-straight SEC win. Against the Tigers, Harris earned his sixth double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play. He leads his teammates in defensive rebounds.
Praise from the Coaches ... Following the LSU game, acting head coach Tony Jones said of Harris: “Tobias Harris got his sixth double-double of the season. He had nine rebounds in the first half. Tobias missed some easy shots in the first half right around the basket that he usually converts. He was a little disappointed in that, but I'm happy that he battled back and got that double-double.” Jones’ post-game comments were posted on the Volunteers website.
During this past Monday’s regular media day, head coach Bruce Pearl noted that he doesn’t “talk about Tobias enough. He has just been tremendously productive and solid.” In comments captured on video by the Knoxville News Sentinel, Pearl added that Harris “doesn’t force the issue. … He tries to get his teammates involved. The key for him is to be patient. He’s done a great job getting to the foul line and converting. … He’s going to keep getting stronger as the season progresses.”
Double-Double & Double Trouble ... Harris’ performance against LSU increased his double-double game total to six. That now places him tied for third for most double-doubles during the six-year coaching reign of Pearl. … Harris and teammate Scotty Hopson were ranked 17th in a Bleacher Report feature ranking the top 30 college basketball duos. In his January 24 article, Charlie Scaturro described Harris as “a highly skilled player who can do a little bit of everything on the court.”
Tennessee’s Leading Man ... Harris leads the Volunteers in most games with 10 or more points (19 games). He's currently averaging 15.1 points per game. Here’s a look at several categories and where Harris sits as game-high leader:Category Game Highs Leading Scorer 7 Leading Rebounder 10 Assists Leader 3 Steals Leader 6 10+ Points 19 10+ Rebounds 6
Next Up For Harris and Tennessee ... The Volunteers (13-7, 3-2 SEC) will be in Oxford, Mississippi today to face “Ole Miss,” the University of Mississippi Rebel Black Bears (13-7, 1-4). Tennessee then plays Auburn next Thursday night. That game can be seen on ESPN2 at 9 p.m.