No. 3 Tennessee continued to serve notice that the Volunteers are a team to be reckoned with after throttling Georgia 96-50 in Saturday’s Southeastern Conference opener in Knoxville, Tenn.
Winners of eight straight, the Vols (12-1, 1-0) are off to their best start since 2007-08 and haven’t lost a game in Thompson-Boling Arena in their last 18 tries.
Georgia (8-5, 0-1) never had a chance.
Ahead 53-24 at the half, the Volunteers continued to pour it on the second.
Five players scored in double figures for the Vols, led by Jordan Bowden with 20 points, followed by Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield with 18 each. Jordan Bone chipped in 11 and Kyle Alexander added a double-double (12 points, 14 rebounds) for Tennessee, which continues to show why it’s one of the nation’s best programs.
Tennessee’s only loss came on Nov. 23 to Kansas, but in the weeks that have passed, the Volunteers have topped then-No. 1 Gonzaga (76-73), Memphis (102-92) and Wake Forest (83-64).
Derek Ogbeide scored 17 points to lead the Bulldogs, who shot just 32.1 percent from the field (17 of 53) and missed their first 15 3-pointers before freshman Amanze Ngumezi ended the skid with just over 10 minutes to play. No other Georgia player finished in double figures.
It was a tough day for a young Georgia squad under first-year coach Tom Crean, and the 50-point output established a season low.
The Bulldogs were overmatched in all phases, including on the boards as the Volunteers outrebounded Georgia by a hefty 40-24 count.
The game seemingly was over at halftime.
A steal and a basket by Jordan Harris cut Tennessee’s early lead to 11-10, but the game got away shortly after that. A 3-pointer by Schofield started an 18-2 run for the Volunteers, culminated by a brilliant finger roll by Jordan Bone that pushed the margin to 25-12.
Georgia simply couldn’t find any answers.
By the time the first half mercifully came to an end for Georgia, Tennessee already had three players in double-figures — Williams (15), Schofield (13) and Bowden (13) — and the Volunteers had shot 56.7 percent (17 of 30).
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs could manage only a 9-of-27 effort from the field the first half, including 0-for-9 shooting from three-point range while being outrebounded by the more talented and experienced Vols, 17-10.
Tennessee returns to action on Tuesday when the Volunteers travel to Missouri, while Georgia hosts Vanderbilt Wednesday night at Stegeman Coliseum.
—Field Level Media