The Tennessee basketball forward proved it was more than lip service as he lay flat on his back on the court Tuesday, a tumble following a toss and the start of a three-point play. The junior flung the fastbreak layup through and hit the free throw, finishing an eight-point flurry to start the second half.
Aidoo made good on the Vols coach’s words, which built on the praise Barnes piled on him days prior at North Carolina. He had a career-high 17 points as Tennessee routed George Mason 87-66 at Thompson-Boling Arena at Food City Center.
Aidoo also had eight rebounds as the No. 13 Vols (5-3) snapped a three-game losing streak by trouncing the Patriots (7-2). Josiah-Jordan James had 15 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Tennessee got healthy and Dalton Knecht was fine
Dalton Knecht didn’t miss a game after injuring his left ankle in the final minutes against North Carolina on Nov. 29. He was back Tuesday. So were forward Tobe Awaka and guard Freddie Dilione.
Dilione had missed four games with a partial tear of the plantar fascia in his left foot. Awaka missed one after a right ankle injury against Syracuse on Nov. 20 in the Maui Invitational.
Tobe Awaka joined Jonas Aidoo with dominance inside
Awaka paired with Aidoo to form a lethal inside presence against the Patriots. He had 11 points and seven rebounds in 10 minutes. He grabbed four offensive rebounds.
Aidoo was 7-for-11 shooting and made both his 3-point attempts. He also had four assists.
Zakai Zeigler is settling in after joining the starting lineup
Barnes put Zakai Zeigler into the starting lineup at North Carolina for the first time this season. The junior point guard responded with his best game of the season and kept it rolling against George Mason.
Zeigler hit back-to-back 3-pointers early and did well dictating the offense. Zeigler had nine points and seven assists at UNC.
Tennessee hosts Illinois on Saturday (noon ET, CBS). It is the first game of a home-and-home with the second game slated to be in Champaign, Illinois, in December 2024.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at email@example.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