KNOXVILLE — The Tennessee and Appalachian State men's basketball teams must have been inspired by the football game that took place down the street from Thompson-Boling on Saturday.
Defense was mostly missing from Tuesday night's game between the Volunteers and Mountaineers.
Tennessee bounced back from the loss to UT-Chattanooga and passed the 100-point mark for the first time since Bruce Pearl's final season as head coach in 2011 in a 103-94 win against the team picked to finish 11th in the Sun Belt Conference.
"You're excited to see your guys scoring baskets, but also giving up 90-something points, that's not good at all," Vols guard Lamonte Turner said after scoring 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
"Considering that we've been working on defense a lot lately, that's not helping anything."
Tennessee (1-1) shot nearly 56 percent from the field and made 8 of 19 3-point shots while allowing Appalachian State (0-2) to shoot 46 percent, hit 10 3s, attempt 37 free throws and grab 17 offensive rebounds.facebook
"I think we can be a good offensive team," Vols coach Rick Barnes said. "But right now we don't rebound it well enough and we don't defend well enough. That's two games in a row we've given way too much dribble penetration."
Robert Hubbs III led the Vols with 16 points, Knoxville product Jordan Bowden started and hit four first-half treys on the way to 14 points, and Kyle Alexander again played well with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.
The Vols scored 28 points off 18 Appalachian State turnovers and recorded 26 assists on 35 made baskets after they had just four assists and 18 turnovers against the Mocs.
"The difference was obviously we made a lot of shots tonight," freshman point guard Jordan Bone said after scoring seven points and handing out eight assists. "We shot terrible when we played Chattanooga. We passed the ball well tonight and we were making shots tonight."
Tennessee took control midway through the first half with a 21-0 run over an eight-minute span.
Grant Williams and Shembari Phillips hit 3s, Admiral Schofield converted a three-point play and Bone made two layups during the run, capped by Bowden's second 3 off an offensive rebound by fellow freshman John Fulkerson.
Bowden's fourth 3 followed another offensive rebound by Fulkerson, who hustled down the floor and grabbed the board after stealing the ball and starting a fast break, and gave Tennessee 42-16 lead with five minutes left in the first half.
Appalachian State outscored the hosts 22-8 to close the first half and trailed by a dozen at the break.
Barnes said repeatedly coming into the season he thought Tennessee would be much improved defensively.
"Believe it or not, as bad as I think we are right now, we're still better than we were a year ago," he said. "I think it's being on edge, understanding getting back and getting your defense set. It's being tough. I've said before mental toughness is doing your job and playing the possession."
Tennessee made 12 of its first 15 shots in the second half and pushed its lead back to 23 (79-56) on Fulkerson's layup with 11:10 left in the game, but the Vols had to manage some final-minute nervousness when the Mountaineers went on a 13-3 run to pull to within 11 and Patrick Good hit a 3-pointer to make it 99-92 with 57 seconds left.
"It's a little bit of both," Turner said, "individual breakdowns and team concepts — help defense, being on the white line, stuff like that. It's stuff we stress every day in practice, so it's a little bit of both. We've just got to get back in the gym and get ready to work for Maui."
Tennessee's next game is against ninth-ranked Wisconsin in its Maui Invitational opener next Tuesday.
Contact Patrick Brown at email@example.com.