KNOXVILLE — Led by a combined 45 points from Jordan Bowden and Lamonte Turner, the Tennessee men's basketball team used an 18-1 run to build a 24-point halftime lead and cruised to a 107-59 exhibition victory over NCAA Division II program Eastern New Mexico on Wednesday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Volunteers start their regular season Tuesday with a 7 p.m. home game against UNC Asheville.
Turner led four players in double figures with 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, and had seven assists. Bowden added 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting, including a pair of 3-pointers on five attempts behind the arc. John Fulkerson had 11 points and a team-high 10 rebounds, and freshman Josiah-Jordan James had 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds.
The Vols shot 50% from the field and made eight 3-pointers.
Devin Pullum had 18 points to lead Eastern New Mexico.
Here's the good, the bad and the verdict for Tennessee:
The expected. Bowden and Turner will be the team's go-to scorers this season, and they did their part by making the open looks provided to them. Fulkerson played his usual role, scrapping for loose balls and picking up easy points whenever they were available. Each of the Tennessee freshmen had some moments that showed some potential and promise. After a slow start on defense, Tennessee picked its game up on that end of the court.
Exhibition games against Division II competition are supposed to be more about the experience than the result. Tennessee started slow but poured it on with a big first-half run and was never really threatened the rest of the way.
The questions about a reliable third option behind Bowden and Turner weren't really expected to be answered Wednesday, and they weren't. The lopsided win was about working the kinks out and getting young players experience. Tennessee did that and can now focus its energy on addressing the mistakes made heading into the regular season.