KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT.) -- Tennessee men's basketball returns home to Thompson-Boling Arena Saturday for a 1 p.m. bout with Jacksonville State.
The Vols dropped their second consecutive game Wednesday night on the road in Cincinnati 78-66. Senior Jordan Bowden poured in 13 points and a season-high six assists in the loss.
Bowden, who recently had his jersey retired at Carter High School, lost his grandmother Friday morning. Head Coach Rick Barnes gave him the day off from practice to be with family.
"He's really close to her and it's tough for anyone to lose someone dearly. I think he knows she's home in heaven - that'll be a comfort to him. He's been dealing with it for a few weeks because they've been put on alert that it could happen at any point in time," said Barnes Friday afternoon.
Barnes added that he believes Bowden will play Saturday vs. the Gamecocks.
As for Barnes, a win over Jacksonville State would give him 700 career wins - and just five victories from his 100th at the helm of the Tennessee program.
Barnes' squad could use some help in the post - the Vols have 81-60 in their two most recent losses. His roster should receive a boost just before the new year, in the form of 6'2" point guard Santiago Vescovi. A native of Uruguay, Vescovi plays in the NBA's Global Academy in Australia. Vescovi becomes the fourth foreign-born player to join Barnes' squad. Olivier Nkamhoua (Finland), Uros Plavsic (Serbia) and Yves Pons (France) are the others.
Tennessee is 59-2 all-time against current members of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Vols haven't dropped three games in a row since Feb. 22 through March 1 of the 2016-17 season when UT fell to Vanderbilt, South Carolina and LSU in succession.
Tip-off Saturday is set for 1 p.m.
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