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Tennessee basketball rolls past Tusculum in exhibition matchup

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Solid night for the Vols.

NCAA Basketball: SEC Basketball Tipoff Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

The sixth ranked Tennessee Volunteers rolled to an 87-48 win tonight over Tusculum in an exhibition game at Thompson-Boling Arena. The Vols were every bit as dominant as they should have been in the first half against Tusculum, racing out to a 42-14 lead by halftime.

After a lull to start the second half, Tennessee found the gas pedal once again to close this one out. Guard Jordan Bowden led the team in scoring, putting up 16 points in just 23 minutes, going 5-7 from the field.

Tennessee’s size advantage in this one was obvious from the tip. The Vols ended up out-rebounding the Pioneers tonight by 12, with Derrick Walker leading the way.

Just three rebounds for Grant Williams

It didn’t take long for Rick Barnes to put one of his players on blast. SEC player of the year Grant Williams was the target tonight for Barnes following his three rebound performance.

“Three rebounds? He’s way behind in that area. That’s totally on him,” Barnes said. “That’s an attitude. He’s not making the effort to get to the boards. There’s no way he should have three rebounds in a game like this. He should be averaging ten rebounds a game and its just a mindset.”

Williams did end with 15 points on the night, shooting 50 percent from the floor.

Slow start in the second half

After playing lights out in the first half, Tennessee fell asleep at the wheel to start the second. Tusculum cut into the lead before the Vols finally got going again.

“The biggest disappointment is we gave up 14 points in the first half and 34 in the second half,” Barnes said. “We’ve got to sustain it and we didn’t do that. In the second half, I just through we got careless. We’ve got to be better and we know that.”

Yves Pons gets plenty of run

Pons logged 16 minutes tonight, going two for two from three point range on the night. He added three rebounds and a block on the defensive side. It was interesting that Pons doubled the minutes of Jalen Johnson, who was also expected to factor into the rotation. Barnes will have to replace the minutes vacated by James Daniel and Pons seems like leader in the clubhouse for now.