Vols survive early scare, take down Texas Southern 70-58
The Vols survived a feisty Texas Southern squad to win their first game of the season and their home opener, 70-58.
The Vols started off horrendously on both sides of the floor. They couldn’t get good looks from anywhere on the court, they weren’t taking care of the ball, and could not guard Texas Southern’s three-point shooters.
Josh Richardson was the first one for Tennessee to get it going. He scored 11 points in the first half including the first couple of buckets for the Vols, but had no help attacking the basket. Armani Moore could not covert on one of his five attempts during the first half and Tennessee’s front court had a great amount of trouble converting down low. Texas Southern’s Chris Thomas was a beast in the first half. He made three 3-pointers to tally 11 points at the break. But both teams had only scored 30 points at halftime.
The Vols came out of the break with energy, going on a 10-3 run that was answered by a Tiger 8-0 run. Texas Southern’s 3-point shooting and Tennessee’s sloppy turnovers kept their opponent hopeful for most of the game until Armani Moore finally stepped up and helped Josh Richardson secure the lead later in the second half.
With big-man Dominic Woodson out nursing an injury, Willie Carmichael was forced to carry the load down low on both sides of the floor, and he delivered. He shot 3-6 from the field, 4-4 from the free throw line, and finished with 10 points. He also grabbed 7 rebounds including 5 offensive boards. He recorded an intense block in the first half that sent Thompson-Boling Arena into a frenzy. He’s starting to play like an athletic big man that Coach Tyndall has worked with before. “Carmichael has the potential to be an all-SEC player by his junior year in my opinion.” Said Tyndall. “He reminds me of a Kenneth (Faried).”
Kevin Punter also had a strong outing. He shot 5-10 from the field including 3-5 from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points. Armani Moore redeemed himself from his terrible first half showing by scoring 11 second-half points and grabbing eight rebounds.
Josh Richardson showed fans tonight that he may be the permanent answer to the question at point guard. He played 36 minutes and did not turn the ball over once. He finished with 19 points and 8 rebounds, continuing to show that he is the leader on this team.
Only about 13,000 fans showed up to watch the Donnie Tyndall era officially begin in Knoxville, but the fans got loud at points of the game where it mattered. “There was no way we would have won this game without our fans.” Coach Tyndall said. “My first win was awesome. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, to be a head coach in this league.”
The Vols play next in the Orlando Classic against Santa Clara at noon on Nov. 27th.
Edited by Will Lomas
Jordan Dajani is a junior journalism/electronic media major from Raleigh, North Carolina.
Follow him on twitter @JDnumba3.