After taking the Battle 4 Atlantis crown with a win over Kansas a week ago, No. 13 Tennessee returned home to face McNeese State.
The Vols (6-1) kept their winning ways going with a dominating 76-40 win over the Cowboys (2-6) on Wednesday.
Leading Tennessee to success was its stifling defense. The Vols refused to let McNeese score easy baskets while surrendering just 40 points on 16-for-56 shooting.
This trend began in the first half where the Cowboys scored just 14 points on 6-for-26 shooting and no made 3-pointers.
Sparking Tennessee’s defense was Jonas Aidoo. The sophomore forward recorded five blocks off the bench with four coming in the first half alone.
His effort rubbed off on the rest of the team as the group forced 24 turnovers. The Vols’ offense capitalized on these mistakes, converting for 30 points off the miscues throughout the match.
Outside of these transition looks, Santiago Vescovi led the team in scoring with 16 points. Julian Phillips, Olivier Nkamhoua and Tyreke Key all also reached double-digits. As a team, Tennessee hit on 42.6% of its field goals.
After struggling on 3-pointers to begin the season, the Vols improved in this category, as well. They connected on 37.9% of their 3-point shots
Also helping Tennessee reach these offensive numbers was its ability to move the ball. In order to break the Cowboys’ 1-3-1 zone, the Vols passed the ball with purpose and effectiveness. This resulted in 21 of its 23 field goal attempts being assisted on. Phillips led the team with four assists and every player who saw more than five minutes of action recorded at least one.
Next up for the Vols is another tuneup game against Alcorn State in Knoxville on Sunday. The game will tip off at 6 p.m. and air on SECN+.
Ryan Sylvia is the Sports Editor at TNJN. He is a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville majoring in journalism and electronic media. Although he spent most of his life being raised outside of Philadelphia, he was born in Knoxville, and he is happy to be back home. Ryan has had a love for sports from an early age, and he found his love for writing in high school while taking journalism classes. He hopes to find a job involving both his passions as a sports journalist after graduation. To reach Ryan, email him at email@example.com