Tennessee started the 2019-20 season off on the right foot on Tuesday night with a 78-63 victory over UNC Asheville in Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols started off slowly and struggled with consistency for most of the night, but thanks to some strong offensive spurts and solid defense throughout the game, Tennessee was able to handily beat the Bulldogs of UNC Asheville in the first game of the season.
The new-look Tennessee squad turned the ball over 12 times in the first half and only made one of their five free throws. But the Vols tightened things up in the second half, only committing five turnovers while totaling nine assists and making five of their seven free throws.
Lamonte Turner led the way with 17 points and six assists, and Yves Pons set a new career-high with 15 points while also snagging seven rebounds and blocking three shots. John Fulkerson nearly had a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds. He also picked up three assists and blocked a shot.
After the game, head coach Rick Barnes wasn’t very pleased with the play of his two senior guards, Lamonte Turner and Jordan Bowden, and he lamented the Vols’ sloppy play on offense. He did praise the defensive effort of his team, and he was pleased with some of the contributions from UT’s freshmen and some less-heralded newcomers.
Barnes met with the media after Tennessee’s 78-63 win, and so did some of his players. Freshmen Davonte Gaines and Olivier Nkamhoua spoke with reporters, as did junior Yves Pons.
Here’s everything Barnes and his players had to say after the Vols’ season-opening win.
Full video of head coach Rick Barnes:
Rick Barnes following Tennessee’s win over UNC Asheville: https://t.co/7mzwBTne89
— Rocky Top Insider (@rockytopinsider) November 6, 2019
Full video of junior wing Yves Pons:
Full video of freshman wing Davonte Gaines:
Full video of freshman forward Olivier Nkamhoua: