After a back-and-forth first half, the Tennessee Volunteers stretched their lead and took full control of the second half en route to defeating winless Tennessee State.
The Vols were able to pull it together coming out of the locker room to defeat the Tigers 88-67, in what was just an eight-point-game by halftime on Friday night in Thompson Boling Arena.
It was the third-straight game, and win, for the Vols before their home crowd, as they improved to 3-1 on the season. Their lone loss came on opening weekend on the road against Xavier.
Like he has all season, Jordan McRae led the Vols in scoring with 25 points. He connected on 9-of-13 shots from the field, including 2-out-of-4 from beyond the three-point arc. McRae also finished with three rebounds, two assists, and a team-high two blocks.
Jarnell Stokes had a solid, but quiet night for the Vols. He posted 16 points on the board while pulling down eight rebounds against Tennessee State. Stokes also showed improvement from the charity stripe as he connected on 6-of-8 free-throw attempts.
The Vols led by as many as 17 in the first half, but due to some poor free-throw shooting, and a few turnovers, they allowed the Tigers to draw back within eight points before the half.
Coming out in the second half the game was still back-and-forth between the two, but Tennessee was finally able to open things up on the offensive end, as well as force turnovers on the defensive end and exploded towards a 20-point-lead.
Tennessee State was able to cut back into the lead in small spurts, but would never get closer than 13 points down again as the Vols went on to pick up the win by outscoring them 50-37 in the second half.
For Tennessee basketball it’s off to the Bahamas after their three-game home stand. They’ll participate in the Thanksgiving weekend Battle 4 Atlantis tournament. Their first game will take place on Thursday, Nov. 28 against UTEP at 9:30 p.m on NBC Sports Network. On day two of the tournament, Friday, Nov. 29 they will face either Iowa, or Xavier for the second time this season. The entire tournament will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network.
Tennessee won’t return to action in the U.S. until Dec. 7 when they return home to face Tennessee Tech at home.