LAHAINA, Hawai’i –Tennessee overcame a 17-point deficit to take a second-half lead Monday against 16th-ranked Wisconsin, but the Badgers’ experience enabled them to hold off the UT charge and hand the Vols a 74-62 loss on the opening day of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
Tennessee returns to action Tuesday when it faces No. 13 Oregon at Lahaina Civic Center. Tuesday’s game tips off at 1:30 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Sophomore guard Shembari Phillips led the Volunteers (1-2) with 16 points against the Badgers, including 10 in the second half. Senior Robert Hubbs III and junior Detrick Mostella each scored 12. Sophomore forward Kyle Alexander grabbed a team-high six rebounds, while redshirt freshman guard Lamonte Turner totaled five points, three steals and two assists with no turnovers.
As a team, UT shot 40 percent overall, 32 percent from 3-point range and was a perfect 6-for-6 at the foul line.
After trailing 40-32 at halftime, the Big Orange opened the second half with a 12-0 run, taking their first lead of the game, 42-40, on a pull-up jumper by freshman forward Grant Williams, who finished with six points.
Tennessee held Wisconsin (3-1) scoreless for the first 4:25 of the second half until preseason All-Big Ten forward Bronson Koenig broke the Badger’s drought with a layup, which keyed a 14-6 run by the Badgers.
At the under-eight-minute media timeout, Tennessee found itself trailing by eight, 56-48. Koenig and senior teammate Nigel Hayes, the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year, accounted for 13 of Wisconsin’s final 16 points spanning the final four and a half minutes of the game.
The Badgers led by as many as 17 points midway through the first half, as they opened the game by hitting their first seven shots and scoring the first 12 points of the game. But the Vols used some timely 3-point shooting while employing an effective zone defense to trim the lead to seven points, 26-19, at the 6:18 mark. Mostella had a team-high 12 points at halftime, and Tennessee committed only two first-half turnovers.
By the break, however, UT was being out-rebounded 21-10, and Wisconsin was shooting 59 percent.
Wisconsin ended up winning the glass, 36-25. Both teams scored 32 points in the paint and Tennessee’s bench posted a 25-7 edge in scoring.
After missing the first two games of the season with a foot injury, true freshman point guard Kwe Parker made his debut for the Vols, logging six minutes off the bench and handing out one assist.
Koenig led Wisconsin with 21 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Hayes logged a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.