Vols close exhibition schedule with decisive win over Lenoir-Rhyne

Published 6:29 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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The University of Tennessee men’s basketball team turned in a dominant showing Tuesday night at the Food City Center, rolling to a 90-48 wire-to-wire exhibition victory over Lenoir-Rhyne.

Junior forward Jonas Aidoo registered a team-best 14 points for No. 9/10 Tennessee in its first home action of the 2023-24 campaign.

The Volunteers connected on six of their first seven shots, including all three attempts from deep, and built a commanding 15-0 advantage after just 3:41 of play. Tennessee continued its strong shooting and, buoyed by eight straight makes, opened the contest 18-of-24 from the field, building a 45-15 edge with 4:22 on the first-half clock.

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Lenoir-Rhyne scored five of the last nine points of the half and Tennessee took a 49-20 cushion into the intermission behind 65.5 percent (19-of-29) shooting.

Midway through the second session, Tennessee scored eight consecutive points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by junior guards Jordan Gainey and Jahmai Mashack, in under a minute to earn its first 40-point lead, 80-40, with 6:39 to go.

The Volunteers went on to extend their margin as high as 43 en route to the 42-point decision in front of over 16,203 fans on Halloween.

Aidoo, who blocked three shots, went 5-of-7 from the floor and connected on his lone 3-point attempt. Three other Volunteers joined him in double figures in the victory.

Fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht tallied 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, while Gainey matched his point total on a 5-of-9 mark, adding a co-team-high four assists. Sophomore forward Tobe Awaka added 11 points in just nine minutes. Fifth-year guard Josiah-Jordan James and freshman guard Cameron Carr both logged nine points and a co-team-best seven rebounds.

Graduate student guard Nas Tyson finished as Lenoir-Rhyne’s lone double-digit scorer, recording a game-high 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including a 2-of-3 clip from deep. Only one other Bear had over five points, as freshman guard Conner Tilley totaled nine.

The Volunteers finished the night 37-of-63 (58.7 percent) from the field and 8-of-10 (80.0 percent) at the line, while holding Lenoir-Rhyne to just an 18-of-71 (25.4 percent) ledger on field goals. The victors also had a 46-32 edge on the glass and a 22-10 margin in assists, as well as 50-12 and 26-8 tallies in paint points and fast-break points, respectively.

Tennessee begins the 2023-24 regular season Monday at 6:30 p.m. against Tennessee Tech, live on SEC Network+ from the Food City Center.