Nov. 3, 2008
Knoxville, Tenn. -- Preseason Southeastern Conference player of the year Tyler Smith and freshman Scotty Hopson each scored 14 points to lead five Volunteers in double figures as No. 14 Tennessee used a late first half run and a solid second half to defeat the Division II Indianapolis Greyhounds, 87-73, in an exhibition contest before a crowd of 18,378 at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Tristan Rogers scored 16 points and Donald Cloutier was a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, including three 3-pointers, in scoring 15 points to lead Indianapolis. Tyle Cockerham added 11.
Sophomore Brian Williams shouldered the load for the Vols inside with a game-high 12 rebounds and six points. Tennessee held a 40-29 rebounding edge, including 15-7 on the offensive end. The Vols also forced the Greyhounds into 28 turnovers.
"As far as the basketball game tonight is concerned, it is about what I expected," said UT coach Bruce Pearl. "I am not pleased, but it looked about like what I expected. We have only four guys back who could play tonight. There is cause for concern. We did not take care of the ball, and not all of those turnovers were forced.
"We are still trying to figure out what to do. We did some things that were out of character, and had some people doing some things they could not do."
Indianapolis first year coach Stan Gouard played under Pearl at Southern Indiana.
Newcomer Bobby Maze showed solid play at the point guard position with seven assists and 10 points. His jumper at 6:20 gave Tennessee its largest lead of the night at 78-57.
Smith filled up his stat line with six rebounds, four assists and a game-high three steals, while Wayne Chism added 12 and Emanuel Negedu 11 with six rebounds.
Playing with a shortened line up due to Daniel West, J.P. Prince, Ryan Childress, Josh Tabb and Philip Jurick being out, the Vols struggled at the start to gain a rhythm. In the first half, they shot just 42.4 percent from the field (14-of-33), before turning it up in in the second half to hit 57.1 percent on 16-of-28 field goals.
"Because of injuries and academic issues, many of the players were not at their best positions," said Pearl. "Scotty Hopson did some really good things, especially when it came to the free-throw line. Hopson is a very unselfish player and a very unselfish man.
"Emmanuel Negedu is a hard-worker who has a good future. When Tyler Smith is on the floor, I want the ball in his hands. J.P. Prince will not be back for Friday's game, but I am hopeful he will play next Saturday."
Tennessee started cold from the field, falling behind by as many as nine at 11-2 a little over four minutes into the game. The Greyhounds would keep their advantage until Smith's dunk at 11:03 gave UT its first lead of the game at 20-19.
Indianapolis would hang tight for the next two minutes, taking a 25-24 lead on Keith Radcliff's jumper. But the Vols tightened up the defense and used a 22-6 run to close out the half with a 46-31 lead. Negedu scored six points during the run, including a 3-pointer at 5:46 to give Tennessee a 36-28 cushion.
Tennessee gets three days off before its final exhibition against the Division II Tusculum Pioneers, Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET