Tennessee’s men’s basketball team returned home to Knoxville on Wednesday to take on the Mercer Bears. The Volunteers were coming off of an outstanding trip to the Bahamas, where they went 2-1 in the Battle 4 Atlantis to finish 3rd. Tennessee picked up wins over Purdue and NC State, with their only blemish coming against Villanova.
Coming home to play a Mercer team seemed like a logical spot for a letdown, but Rick Barnes and the Vols weren’t having any of that.
Tennessee came out white hot, going on one of their patented runs to open the game. It was 28-7 quickly, with the Vols taking control. Jordan Bowden was the man of the first half, going 6-7 from the field and 4-5 from three point range to score 16 points.
The Vols made it look easy offensively, shooting over 60 percent in the first half. They didn’t let up in the second half. The Vols built a lead of as many as 30 points at one point.
Mr. reliable — Grant Williams — ended up leading the Vols in scoring on the night with 21 points. James Daniel seems to be coming into his own, but maybe not how we thought. He added 10 assists tonight to go along with nine points. Daniel was 3-5 from three point range.
Admiral Schofield was limited to 17 minutes tonight, but scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds.
The Volunteers ended up shooting 55 percent from the field, including 52 percent (13-25) from deep. Mercer was picked to win the SoCon by the coaches in the conference, by the way. This was a decent little win for Tennessee, who improves to 5-1 on the season after tonight.
Tennessee will travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech at 5 PM eastern on Sunday.