Remember Tennessee’s white hot second half against Vanderbilt? Well, that continued in the first half against Ole Miss.
It was John Fulkerson leading the way for the Volunteers, scoring ten quick points to take control of the game. Fulkerson scored through contact, converting a couple of and-one opportunities at the rim. Jordan Bowden added a couple of quick buckets, while Jalen Johnson drained a corner three.
Midway through the first half, Tennessee had jumped out to a 24-10 lead.
The offensive explosion didn’t stop there. Fulkerson kept on truckin’ — eating Ole Miss alive at the rim. By the end of the half, the Kingsport native had 16 points, just one point away from his career high.
Josiah James added to the cause, scoring nine points and putting up four assists.
Tennessee shot just north of 50 percent from the field in the first half while Ole Miss shot just 24. Breein Tyree was bottled up and held to just four points.
The Volunteers’ 19 point lead at the break felt unsurmountable, considering the looks Tennessee was consistently getting. That thought would prove to be correct.
Olivier Nkamhoua and Josiah James kept the party rolling for the Vols. Each man got into double figures in the opening minutes of the second half as the lead was pushed out to 24.
Tyree finally got going for the Rebels, scoring eight quick points to power the Rebels’ offense. But the damage had already been done. Big man Khadim Sy fouled out with nine minutes remaining, to make matters worse. He picked up three first half fouls, which allowed Fulkerson to get off to his hot start early on. Needless to say, things didn’t get better for Sy — or Ole Miss.
Tennessee cruised to a 73-48 win.
Fulkerson led the Vols with a career high 18 points. Bowden and James ended up with 11, while Nkamhoua added ten.
The Vols will be back in action on Saturday against Kansas.