Three Takeaways from Tennessee’s Season Opening Loss to Chattanooga

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    Photo Credit: Nick Davis/RTI

    Photo Credit: Nick Davis/RTI

    Tennessee dropped its season-opening game to Chattanooga on Friday night by a final score of 82-69.

    Chattanooga was a 12 seed in last year’s NCAA tournament, winning 29 games in the 2015-2016 season. Here are three takeaways from Tennessee’s loss to the Mocs.

    Jordan Bone Leads the Way

    The freshman point guard from Nashville had Tennessee’s first six points, and tallied nine points midway through his first career regular season start.

    Bone was one of Tennessee’s only sparks in an abysmal shooting night. He would finish with 21 points on 8-of-13 shooting. The rest of the team would shoot 10-for-42 from the field.

    Bone drove early and often. The first two points of his career came at the free throw stripe after driving to the hoop and drawing a foul.

    At halftime, Bone led the Vols with nine points in 11 minutes on the floor. The freshman point guard only turned it over once in the opening frame. Bone had a big drive and finish with 9:46 left in the game to cut the UTC lead back down to seven, giving him 17 on the night.

    He’ll facilitate much of Tennessee’s offense this year. Bone’s ability to drive to the hoop will be crucial for Tennessee’s offense moving forward.

    November Basketball at its Finest

    The Vols turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and 18 times in the game. Tennessee seemed to be out of sync offensively, minus some nice drives from Bone and Robert Hubbs.

    Tennessee missed its slasher guard Kwe Parker, who was in a boot and did not play.

    Three of those first half turnovers came from starting shooting guard Detrick Mostella. Mostella also committed three fouls in the opening 20 minutes. Luckily for the Vols, Chattanooga only scored nine points off those turnovers in the first period and 18 for the game.

    Tennessee was out-rebounded 20-17 in the first half. The Vols tallied just six offensive boards at the break, and shot 33% on 8-of-24 shooting from the field. The second half was a little better, with Tennessee winning the rebounding battle 40-36 at the end of the game.

    After missing its first six 3-pointers, Chattanooga caught fire from behind the arc. The Mocs would hit their next four 3s, seeming to work the kinks out in its first game as well. Tennessee led for most of the first half, with the exception of the final four and a half minutes.

    Chattanooga took control of the game early in the second half. The Mocs scored on two straight dunks to take a 43-31 lead with 17:05 left in the game, and never looked back.

    With 15:52 in the game, Tennessee had just two assists, finishing the game with four.

    Defense Gives up Easy Buckets

    Chattanooga had seven dunks in the second half alone, four of them coming from star big man Justin Tuoyo. Tuoyo finished the game with 20 points and 10 boards, and scored most of those points with easy buckets on the baseline.

    Tennessee’s guards were outmatched by a veteran group of Mocs. Every time a Chattanooga player would drive into the lane, the Tennessee big was forced out to cover the shooter, leaving the UTC forwards wide open for an easy slam on the baseline.

    The Mocs scored 42 points in the paint, compared to Tennessee’s 32.

    Those easy baskets were the difference in the game, overshadowing some good post defense from Kyle Alexander. The sophomore center tallied four blocks and eight rebounds.

    Tennessee hosts Appalachian State next Tuesday from Thompson Boling Arena.

    Final stats: