Basketball players

3 Tennessee basketball players named to SEC All-Tournament Team

TAMPA, Fla. — Tennessee freshman guard Kennedy Chandler was named the SEC Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and two other Vols teammates, Santiago Vescovi and Josiah-Jordan James, were named to the All-Star Team on Sunday. -SEC Tournament.

No. 2 seed Tennessee defeated No. 8 seed Texas A&M 65-50 on Sunday at Amalie Arena.

Chandler combined for 44 points while shooting 53% in Tennessee’s three games, including wins over No. 10 Mississippi State in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Kentucky in the semifinals.

“It wouldn’t have happened without (Vescovi and James) and my teammates making it happen,” Chandler said. “I know I twisted my ankle, but I wanted to fight, come back and play with my guys and win the SEC championship.”

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Vescovi, a junior guard, led Tennessee in scoring in the championship game, notching 17 points on 4-for-9 shooting — all 3-pointers. Vescovi was a combined 9 for 15 beyond the tournament arc.

James, a junior guard, totaled 32 points in the tournament on 15-for-35 shooting.

“Santi and Jo probably aren’t recognized enough for their defense, and they’re both in elite form,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “(Vescovi) has probably run 30 miles, 40 miles more than anybody on our team because when these guys are in training they don’t want to come out unless we take them out.”

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All three starters played key roles in Tennessee’s defensive effort as the Vols limited all three tournament opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field. In the championship against Texas A&M, the Aggies shot just 31%. Only Kentucky scored more than 60 points in a 69-62 semifinal loss.

“We did a great job putting our bodies on the line every time, leaving everything, our hearts and our bodies on the pitch every game,” Vescovi said. “We wanted it, and we knew what it was going to take.”