KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee cruised to an 83-48 win over Slippery Rock at Thompson-Boling Arena Thursday night in the team’s only exhibition game of the preseason.
The Volunteers were led by a dominant defensive performance. They held The Rock to 34 percent (20-of-58) shooting and forced 30 turnovers. Sophomore Kyle Alexander protected the rim effectively, collecting six of Tennessee’s 13 total blocks. UT finished with 16 steals on the night as well.
Senior Robert Hubbs III led the Vols in scoring column, putting up 14 points on the night in just 12 minutes of action. Freshmen Jordan Bone and John Fulkerson combined for 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting from the floor.
The Vols’ first-half offense was fueled by 12 points from Hubbs on 3-of-4 shooting and 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. As a team, UT shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field and forced 19 first-half turnovers, leading to 28 of the Vols’ 39 points for the half.
Fulkerson made his presence felt during the half, scoring eight points on four dunks, including an emphatic one-handed slam that gave Tennessee an 18-point lead at the 1:29 mark. Fulkerson also had a pair of steals in the opening stanza.
After back-to-back jumpers by Merdic Green pulled The Rock within a point, UT responded with a 15-2 run to take a commanding 30-16 lead with six minutes remaining in the half. The spurt propelled the Volunteers to a 39-23 halftime lead.
Tennessee raced out of the gate in the second half and assembled a 23-6 run over the first seven minutes. The Vols were 9-of-16 from the field during the spurt. UT went on to lead by as many as 37 in the second half.
Bone scored nine off his 11 points in the second half, connecting on 4-of-5 attempts.
On the night, The Rock were limited to just 29.7 percent (11-of-37) shooting.
Tennessee hosts Chattanooga next Friday in its season-opener at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game tips off at 7 p.m. ET and will feature an online-only broadcast through SEC Network+ on WatchESPN.
Playing as a Team: All 16 players on the roster made an appearance in the game Thursday night, with 13 individuals appearing in the scoring column. The Vols didn’t mind sharing the ball either, assisting on 17 of their 29 made field goals. On the defensive side of the ball, eight Volunteers had a steal, which helped lead to UT’s 30 forced turnovers.
Freshmen Trio Performs Well: Jordan Bone, John Fulkerson and Grant Williams were major contributors in Tennessee’s exhibition victory, contributing on both sides of the ball for the Vols. Between them, the trio totaled 28 points (12-of-17 shooting), eight rebounds, five blocks, four assists and four steals
BY TENNESSEE/VIDEO COURTESY OF WVLT-TV