Nov. 29, 2013
PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas -- Tennessee suffered a 78-70 defeat to UTEP at Imperial Arena in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. The Miners' defenses of a triangle-and-2 and box-and-1 caused havoc with the Vols' offense most of the game as UT shot 34.9 from the floor including 3-of-21 from 3-point range. UTEP shot 58 from the floor.
UTEP (4-2) had four players in double-figures: McKenzie Moore (19), John Bohannon (16), Julian Washburn (12) and Justin Crosgile (12)
The Vols were hurt by poor free-throw shooting, making just 23-of-39 for 59 percent.
The one positive for the Vols was their rebound work as Tennessee out rebounded the Miners, 45-28, including a 26-6 edge on the offensive glass. The Vols' total was the most since they grabbed 28 vs. the College of Charleston on Dec. 31, 2010.
Down by 15 points with less than seven minutes left, the Vols rallied to cut the margin to nine on a quick personal 6-0 burst by McRae with 5:25 left.
Tennesse continued to battle and reduced the deficit to seven on a dunk by Stokes with three minutes left at 65-58, but UTEP quickly responded with a fast break lay-up.
McRae's pair of free throws brought UT within six at 67-61 with 2:35 left. That was the closest the Vols would get in the second half.
A 3-pointer by Crosgile regained a three possession lead for UTEP, 70-61.
UTEP maintained at least a 7-point lead for the rest of the way to secure its first-ever win over Tennessee.
UTEP took a 15-point lead on a Moore layup with 6:45 left in regulation. That put the Miners ahead 60-45.
The Miners opened the second half on a 10-4 run to take a 14-point lead for the first time at 46-32, five minutes into the half.
UTEP closed off the first half strong to hold a 36-28 lead at intermission. The Miners scored 16 of the final 23 points in the period.
The Miners took advantage of efficient shooting from the floor, making 16-of-29 for 55.2 percent, while the Vols were mired in a 9-of-32 half for 28 percent. UTEP outscored the Vols 11-2 in points off turnovers.
Tennessee dominated the boards in the first half with a 27-15 advantage. That included a 15-3 edge on the offensive glass.
Down 19-12, the Vols ripped off eight points in a row to regain the lead at 20-19 as freshman Darius Thompson knocked down the first 3-pointer of his career with 5:39 left in the first half.
Tennesse fell behind 17-10 with a little more than nine minutes left in the first half on a Matt Willms layup.
The Vols will face Xavier for the second time in six games this season in the consolation bracket on Friday at 1 p.m. The game will air on AXS.tv and can be heard on the Vol Network. The Musketeers posted a 67-63 win in the season opener played in Cincinnati on Nov. 12.