KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A young Tennessee men’s basketball team couldn’t find its shooting touch on Friday night, and Chattanooga took full advantage.
The Mocs — bigger, stronger and more experienced — came away with an 82-69 victory over the Vols Friday night in both teams’ season opener.
Tennessee showed signs of what could be with inspired play though the first 10 minutes, charging to a 17-10 lead at the 10-26 mark on Jordan Bone’s 3-point shot.
The defending Southern Conference champs, who brought back four starters from last season’s 29-6 team, answered with an 11-3 run to take control and led 34-29 at the half.
“Early in the game we defended them but we didn’t sustain it,” UT coach Rick Barnes said. “I don’t think we gave ourselves a chance with the lack of movement on offense.”
UT had 18 turnovers and only four assists.
Chattanooga quickly stretched its lead to double digits, using an 11-2 run to go up 45-31 before Tennessee managed to sink its first field goal of the second half.
The Vols shot just 33 percent from the floor (19 of 58) in the game while making 1-of-16 shots (6 percent) beyond the 3-point arc.
It was the Mocs’ first win over the Vols since 2004, when they scored a 69-68 win over Tennessee.
The win in cavernous Thompson-Boling Arena should prove an effective warm-up for the Mocs, who play at North Carolina on Sunday.
Player of the game: Point guard Jordan Bone scored 21 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Bone had the Vols’ first six points of the game and sparked spurts that kept UT within double-digits much of the second half.
Stat line of the game: Chattanooga’s Justin Tuoyo, a 6-foot-10, 235-pounder, had NBA scouts in attendance to see him play and he made the most of it. Tuoyo, the two-time SoCon Defensive Player of the Year, had 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting, pulled down 11 rebounds and had two blocked shots.
Turning point: Chattanooga’s Tre’ McLean, the Preseason SoCon Player of the Year, didn’t score until the 4:05 mark of the fist half, putting the Mocs up 24-22 with a 3-pointer after opening 0-for-5 shooting from the floor. Once McClean got rolling, Chattanooga rounded into form.
Starting lineup: Barnes continued to say in the days leading up to the game he wasn’t certain about who should start, and Friday’s lineup was different than what he showed in the exhibition. Barnes went with: Jordan Bone, Robert Hubbs III, Admiral Schofield, Kyle Alexander, Derrick Mostella.
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) November 12, 2016
What’s next: Tennessee plays host to Appalachian State at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) November 11, 2016