Offense was the problem in game one, but a different team showed up in game two.
Tennessee knocked off Appalachian State by a final score of 103-94 on Tuesday night for its first win of the year.
Here’s three takeaways from Tennessee’s victory over the Mountaineers:
Offense Makes Great Strides from Game One
The offense got off to a livelier start from the tip. Jordan Bowden raced down the floor and nailed a wide open three to start the game. Tennessee’s 3-pointers were better than against Chattanooga, when they made 1-of-16
Tennessee began the game 3-for-4 from behind the arc with buckets from Bowden, Grant Williams and Shembari Phillips. In the first half, Tennessee was 6-for-11 from 3-point range. The Vols were 1-for-16 in that department against Chattanooga in the season opener.
Tennessee had four assists in its opening game, but moved the ball much more efficiently against the Mountaineers. The Vols totaled 26 assists, led by Jordan Bone with 8. While Bone scored 21 in his first game against Chattanooga, he only had one assist in that one.
Bone and Lamonte Turner distributed the ball nicely in Tennessee’s up-tempo offense. Turner added 5 assists of his own at the point to go with his 15 points.
Sophomore forward Kyle Alexander scored a career high 13 points in 23 minutes on the court. Alexander benefitted from being the only Tennessee big man on the floor. His 7 rebounds led the team.
Balanced Rotation Favors Strong Guard Play
Against Chattanooga, Tennessee played 11 players in the first five minutes of the game. But that rotation is starting to shrink. Jordan Bowden got the start instead of Detrick Mostella, who only ended up playing 11 minutes compared to Bowden’s 22.
The Vols went small early and often, starting four guards.
Admiral Schofield came off the bench just shy of midway through the first half after starting Tennessee’s first game against UTC. Lamonte Turner was the clear second choice for Rick Barnes at the point guard position. Turner shared the court with Jordan Bone on multiple sequences, but commanded the floor well in his increased time at the point.
While Shembari Phillips started at guard, the sophomore did not play any point guard. Detrick Mostella handled the point for a few possessions as well.
Bowden Shines in First Start
Jordan Bowden showed a remarkable shooting stroke all night long for the Vols.
Bowden shot 4-for-9 from the field after hitting three of his first four 3 pointers. His contribution was vital for Tennessee in 22 minutes of action.
Against Chattanooga, starting shooting guard Detrick Mostella scored two points on 1-of-4 shooting. Mostella also had three turnovers and three fouls in just 12 minutes of play. Bowden’s increased contribution at that position made a difference, along with Shembari Phillips’ performance.
Tennessee’s smaller lineup gave them more success moving the ball, freeing up Bowden for open looks on the perimeter. Jordan Bone was the big story in UT’s opener, but Bowden stole the show with his range from deep. Foul trouble stifled his production late in the game, but Bowden made a strong case to keep his starting spot.
With Robert Hubbs’ increased production in the lane, perimeter shooters had more opportunities. Bowden’s success on the perimeter will benefit from strong post play moving forward.