Vols offense explodes in exhibition in Italy

Published 3:01 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

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Fueled by an explosive offensive attack, the Tennessee basketball team posted its second win over the Lithuanian U21 National Team in as many days Saturday, collecting a 116-90 victory at Palacoverciano.

The Volunteers improved to 2-0 during their three-game exhibition tour of Italy after previously defeating the Lithuanian squad, 97-57, on Friday.

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Saturday saw the Vols shoot .488 as a team, including a .432 clip from 3-point range. Tennessee drained 16 triples, with Santiago Vescovi going 5-for-7 from long range and Dalton Knecht shooting 4-for-7.

Vescovi and Knecht shared the team lead with 19 points apiece, while forwards Jonas Aidoo and Tobe Awaka each scored 16. Aidoo added a team-high 11 rebounds to log a double-double, and Awaka’s night was highlighted by a perfect shooting performance—5-for-5 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

As a team, UT made 20 of 21 free-throw attempts Saturday, with eight different players hitting from the foul line.

Redshirt freshman guard Freddie Dilione V built off his stellar showing on Friday with a 10-point, 10-assist double-double off the bench Saturday.

Jordan Gainey finished with 13 points, and Josiah-Jordan James added 10 to go along with five rebounds.

In the fourth quarter, Tennessee reserves Colin Coyne, Grant Hurst and Kaylan Makan saw their first action of the foreign tour.

Nojus Kuliesa starred for the Lithuanian U21 National Team. He fired off 13 3-point attempts and connected on seven of them en route to a game-high 25 points. Fellow guard Paulius Velutis added 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting.

On Monday, the Vols concluded their summer exhibition schedule against Rome-based professional team A.S. Stella Azzurra at Stella Azzurra Basketball Academy.

Tennessee used its trademark smothering defense and a balanced offensive attack to defeat Italian professional team A.S. Stella Azzurra, 97-51, Monday at the Stella Azzurra Basketball Academy.

Paired with two wins over the Lithuanian U21 National Team in Florence, Italy, last week, Tennessee concludes its three-game international exhibition tour undefeated at 3-0. The Volunteers’ margin of victory over the three games was 37.3 points per game (103.3 to 66.0).

Knecht was UT’s leading scorer Monday, totaling 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four 3-pointers, five rebounds and three assists.

Five other Vols scored in double figures. Gainey finished with 13 points, D.J. Jefferson had 13, Awaka and Vescovi had 12 and Dilione added 10.