Vols use 32-0 run to level High Point
KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee men’s basketball team has conquered the Big South.
Now it’s on to the Big Ten.
Four nights after using a 28-0 spurt to outlast Presbyterian College in their season opener, the Volunteers pieced together a 32-0 first-half run and lambasted High Point 84-53 at Thompson-Boling Arena on Tuesday night.
Tennessee could hardly have started better in its final tune-up before next week’s eight-team Battle 4 Atlantis in Bahamas that pits the Vols against No. 19 Purdue in the first of three tournament games.
High Point finished 9-9 in the Big South last year and was a step up in competition from the Presbyterian team that finished 1-17 in the same league. High Point scored 100 points in its season opener, but the Vols vanquished that offensive potency just like they did with Presbyterian.
The Panthers went 12 minutes and 15 seconds between field goals in the first half as the Vols transformed a 7-7 tie into a 39-7 lead and a 52-13 halftime advantage.
“I thought the first half we really did play well defensively and did some good things,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “We knew they would attack — thought they would try and get up and down the floor.”
High Point’s fast-paced offense recovered in the second half but reached 50 points only after the Vols went deep into their bench with under four minutes left in the game.
Nine players logged at least 13 minutes for the Vols, led by James Daniel’s 28. The senior graduate transfer became the first Tennessee player since 2011 to dish out 10 assists in a game, and he did it without turning the ball over. Daniel added two blocks and two steals to his stat line as he came off the bench and steadied a lineup led by 16 points each from guards Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bone.
“I think he responded well coming off the bench,” Barnes said. “Getting 10 assists and no turnovers is a good night for anybody.”
Turner connected on two straight treys to give the Vols a 15-7 lead with 13:27 remaining in the first half. Bone added another to make it 20-7, and Turner’s third trey of the half made it a 19-0 run.
The Vols kept laying it on offensively while holding the Panthers to 21 percent shooting in the first half. The run plateaued with 4:18 left in the half when Bone made two free throws.
Admiral Schofield hit a contested 3-pointer just before the final seconds of the first half ticked off the clock to send the Vols into halftime with quadruple the amount of points as their opponent.
Tennessee has a week off before facing Purdue next Wednesday in Paradise Island, Bahamas. The Vols’ last two opponents in the event are to be determined, but the event’s field also consists of No. 3 Arizona, No. 5 Villanova, Southern Methodist, Western Kentucky, North Carolina State and Northern Iowa.
Freshman wing Yves Pons did not play Tuesday. He tweaked his ankle during Friday’s game.
Tennessee guard Jordan Bowden, right, attempts a shot against High Point during Tuesday’s game at Thompson-Boling Arena.