KNOXVILLE — The 17th-ranked Tennessee men's basketball team struggled offensively for the second consecutive game Monday night but rode its defense to a 58-46 win over the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Lamonte Turner led the Volunteers (5-0) with 17 points and 12 assists. John Fulkerson scored 14 points, while Jordan Bowden chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds. Jordan-Josiah James had just four points but added 11 rebounds.
The Vols will travel to Niceville, Florida, to face Florida State in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic.
Here is the Good, the Bad and the Verdict from the win:
Fulkerson disrupted things on the defensive end for the Vols. UTC shot just 34% from the field, and although Fulkerson's defensive stat line — four rebounds, one block — wasn't all that impressive, he was everywhere on the floor and affected the game in a multitude of ways. It helped overcome a night that Tennessee shot just 37% from the field and senior guards Bowden and Turner combined to make 10 of 31 shots.
The shooting. UTC's game plan may have had something to do with that, but the Vols never got comfortable from the field. Monday was the first time since the Georgia Tech game on Nov. 13 of last season that the Vols failed to make at least 20 shots from the field, and even in that game they were able to shoot nearly 40% from the field.
Unlike last season, Tennessee just doesn't have the offense to outscore opponents. The Vols are going to have to win a lot of games much like they did Monday, with defense and effort and affecting opponents with their length. The win over the Mocs wasn't anything to write home about, but it was a win, and it gives Tennessee some things to work on heading into a tough weekend of action.
For more coverage, read Tuesday's Times Free Press.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3 or at Facebook.com/VolsUpdate.