Vols breeze past Wofford

Published 4:35 pm Friday, November 17, 2023

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Playing its final home game of the month, the University of Tennessee men’s basketball team registered an 82-61 victory Tuesday night against Wofford.

No. 7 Tennessee (3-0), behind a team-high 18 points from fifth-year guard Dalton Knecht, led wire to wire at Food City Center.

The Volunteers connected on four straight field goals midway through the opening frame to take a 16-9 lead with 11:54 on the clock, but Wofford (2-1) clawed back within two multiple times. After the last time, Tennessee went on an 11-4 run that included 3-pointers by three different players to take a nine-point edge, 34-25, with 1:21 remaining in the frame.

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The Terriers connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to slice the margin to three before a bank-shot by junior forward Jonas Aidoo made it 36-31 at the break. Tennessee shot 43.8 percent (7-of-16) from deep in the opening half, but allowed nine offensive rebounds at the other end.

Following a Wofford 3-pointer to open the second session, Tennessee used a 10-0 spurt in just 2:19 to go up by a dozen, 46-34, with 16:38 to go. After the Terriers answered with eight of the next nine points, the Volunteers went on a 12-2 burst in 3:24 to go up by a then-game-best 15, 59-44, with 10:11 remaining.

The Terriers never got the deficit down to single digits the rest of the way, while Tennessee extended its advantage as high as 22 on its way to its second victory by 20-plus points in just three outings thus far.

Knecht shot 6-of-11 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the line, as he paced the Volunteers in scoring for the third time in as many contests to begin the season. The reigning SEC Player of the Week added three rebounds, two steals and one block.

Junior guard Jordan Gainey (16) and fifth-year guard Santiago Vescovi (11) both had season-high point totals, shooting 4-of-10 and 3-of-6, respectively, from 3-point range. Fifth-year guard Josiah-Jordan James, meanwhile, tallied eight points to eclipse 1,000 in his career, plus tied Aidoo for the team lead with seven rebounds.

Junior guard Corey Tripp led all scorers with 19 points for the Terriers, finishing 9-of-14 from the floor and adding a game-best five assists. Sophomore guard Chase Cormier tallied 15 points on 5-of-7 3-point shooting off the bench, while junior guard Jackson Sivills added 10 points.

Tennessee finished the night with a 45.8 percent (27-of-59) clip from the floor, including a 40.7 percent (11-of-27) ledger beyond the arc. At the other end, it held Wofford to 37.7 percent (23-of-61) and 27.0 percent (10-of-37) shooting, respectively. The victors also recorded a 19-3 edge in poins off turnovers and a 9-2 margin in fast-break points.