No Jordan Bone with a stress fracture. No Admiral Schofield, still in Rick Barnes’ doghouse. And no problem whatsoever with Georgia Tech.
Tennessee broke open a 6-6 game after the first five minutes with a 10-0 run, then added a 9-0 run to push the lead to 16 at the under four in the first half. The Vols then pushed the lead to 28 in the first five minutes of the second half and were never remotely threatened after that.
Georgia Tech had more turnovers (19) than made field goals (18), shooting just 32.7% from the floor. The Vols won by 23 despite Tech hitting 46.2% from the arc and 16-of-20 at the free throw line.
Seven different Vols scored between 7-14 points. Freshmen Grant Williams and John Fulkerson got the start in the post, and they didn’t disappoint with 26 points and 14 rebounds combined. The Vols got 10 from Robert Hubbs, a nice 14 points and 7 assists from Shembari Phillips, took only 11 threes and made six of them. On the day Tennessee shot 52.8% from the floor.
We mentioned in the game preview this might be the most important of Tennessee’s non-conference games as the biggest most-attainable win. We’ll see how good Josh Pastner’s Yellow Jackets turn out to be - Georgia Tech was #113 in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings before tip-off - but the young Vols have to be playing with a ton of confidence after the Maui showing and now this. They’ll need it: after hosting Presbyterian
Monday Tuesday night it’s off to Chapel Hill to face #3 North Carolina next Sunday.
But this was a pay-attention win. The Vols are young, small, and will be challenged throughout this season. But seeing them get a blowout win like this today against an ACC team that made it to the NIT quarters last year should do well for public interest at the very least. We’ll see what they can do in front of even bigger lights in the weeks ahead, but in the midst of an un-fun set of weeks in football, this was a really enjoyable afternoon in Big Orange Country.