Tennessee defeated High Point 84-44 on Tuesday night to pick up its second win of the season before heading to the Bahamas next week.
Behind a stifling defensive performance, the Vols (2-0) ambushed the Panthers in the first half and wouldn’t look back.
High Point (1-1) would tie things at 7-7 following the first media timeout, but the Vols would then go on a 32-0 run to build a 39-9 lead. Tennessee sophomore Lamonté Turner sparked the run, going three-of-five from deep on his way to nine first half points.
The 32-0 run wasn’t the first big run of the young season. In Tennessee’s season-opener against Presbyterian, the Vols went on a 28-0 run to end the first half on their way to an 88-53 win.
Based on the way the Vols had been practicing earlier this week, head coach Rick Barnes was surprised by the first half run.
“I didn’t think we looked too sharp Sunday,” Barnes said following the win. “So that turned into a much longer practice than I had planned. We had to spend a lot of time the last two days working on ball-screen defense, and tonight, we were actually much better than I thought we would be with it.”
Admiral Schofield led the way in the first half with 14 points while sophomore Jordan Bone added 13 points. Tennessee led High Point 52-13 at intermission. The Panthers 13 points were the fewest the Vols have allowed since the Vols held Presbyterian to 13 points on Dec. 18, 2012.
The second half wasn’t pretty for the Vols as they shot just 34.5 percent from the floor, compared to 61 percent in the first half. High Point managed to score 40 points in the second half.
While the Vols adjusted well to High Point’s offensive game plan, Barnes wasn’t happy with the way his team responded in the second half after building a big lead.
“You can say you’ve got a lead and all that,” Barnes said. “But you don’t get that many opportunities to play, so I am disappointed that we didn’t come out with more of a focus.”
James Daniel lll didn’t start against the Panthers because of Barnes’ displeasure with the way the graduate transfer responded after starting against Presbyterian. However, Daniels recorded 10 assists after coming off the bench to fall back in the good graces of his head coach.
“I really don’t care who starts,” Barnes said. “10 assists and no turnovers is a good night for anybody.”
Daniels is the first Vol to record 10 assists since Trae Golden did it against Louisiana-Monroe in 2011. His previous career high at Howard in assists was six.
After two dominating wins over inferior opponents, Tennessee now turns its attention to No. 19 Purdue. The Vols will travel to the Bahamas over Thanksgiving break to participate in the Battle 4 Atlantis.
Tennessee and Purdue will tip at noon next Wednesday. Depending on if they win or lose, the Vols will then face Villanova or Western Kentucky the next day. The Vols will finish out the trip with a game on Friday before heading back to Knoxville.
Edited by Seth Raborn
Feature image courtesy of UT Sports