No. 13 Vols obliterate Alcorn State to improve to 7-1 on court

Tennessee Athletics photo / Tennessee senior forward Olivier Nkamhoua scored a game-high 20 points to lead the No. 13 Volunteers to a 94-40 pummeling of Alcorn State on Sunday night.

This was a mismatch even by mismatch standards.

The 13th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers continued their easiest stretch of the season Sunday night, routing a depleted Alcorn State 94-40 inside Thompson-Boling Arena. Olivier Nkamhoua and Julian Phillips led six Vols in double figures with 20 and 18 points, respectively, while Jahmai Mashack added 13, Uros Plavsic 12, Tyreke Key 11 and Zakai Zeigler 10.

Nkamhoua and Phillips combined on a 14-of-14 performance from the free-throw line.

"I thought the mindset was good," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said on the Vol Network. "They were down three guys and haven't played a home game all year. They did everything they could to be aggressive, but being down three key guys is difficult. I thought our guys stayed focused, and I thought we moved the ball well.

"We assisted on 27 of 33 baskets, and our interior passing was good, which is something we've spent a lot of time on the last couple weeks."

A Key 3-pointer 37 seconds into the game put Tennessee ahead to stay at 3-0, and his second 3-pointer six minutes in gave the Vols their first double-digit bulge at 14-4. A Phillips layup with 6:31 before halftime built Tennessee's advantage to 33-12, and the Vols would take a 49-22 lead into intermission.

The second half was more of the same, as Tennessee opened on a 14-2 run to take a 63-24 lead into the first media timeout. Santiago Vescovi sat out Sunday because of a strained shoulder, but Josiah-Jordan James returned to collect two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes following his four-game absence due to knee soreness.

"It was neat having Jo back," Barnes said. "We knew we had a time limit on him, and we took him right up to that, but his presence just makes a huge difference."

Sunday's slaughter of Alcorn State (3-6) was the second contest in Tennessee's only three-game homestand of the season, which began with last Wednesday's 76-40 trampling of McNeese and will conclude Wednesday night with the arrival of Eastern Kentucky (4-4).

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