Tennessee attempted a lot of 3-pointers and played a lot of good defense Monday night in a season-opening 75-43 blowout of Tennessee Tech before 17,957 inside Thompson-Boling Arena.
The 11th-ranked Volunteers launched 44 shots from long range, making just 4-of-21 in the first half before connecting on 10-of-23 after the break. The 40-minute constant was Tennessee's defense, as the Golden Eagles managed just five assists and suffered 22 turnovers.
"We missed some shots early, but we're going to take them," Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said on the Vol Network. "There are going to be nights where we're going to shoot 44, and there are going to be nights where we're going to make 30. We've worked all year on if we're open, we're going to shoot it.
"We had too many turnovers tonight from our guards, and it was because they turned down shots."
Tennessee senior guard Tyreke Key, the graduate transfer from Indiana State, followed up his 26-point performance in the Gonzaga exhibition by scoring 17 in 25 minutes. Key was 5-of-10 from the floor and 4-of-8 from long range.
A Key 3-pointer with 13:22 remaining in the first half staked Tennessee to a 9-1 lead, and his second one at the 11:43 mark made it 12-1. Key's three-point play with 5:22 left gave the Vols their biggest first-half lead at 22-8, and they took a 27-16 lead into intermission.
"Tyreke is really an all-around player," Barnes said. "Not only can he score the ball at different levels, but he's working really hard defensively. He's much more physical than people think."
Zakai Zeigler and Santiago Vescovi tallied 12 and nine points, respectively, while Josiah-Jordan James and Julian Phillips each added eight for the Vols, who play again Sunday afternoon against Colorado in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
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