By Mike Lehman, TTU Sports Information
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Tech men's basketball team closed out its non-conference slate for the 2018-19 season at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville Saturday afternoon, falling to the No. 3 nationally-ranked Tennessee Volunteers by a final score of 96-53.
The Vols proved nearly infallible on offense in the first half, shooting an eye-popping 74.2 percent from the field on their way to a 51-33 lead at the break. Tech, which struggled to get the ball rolling early in the contest, closed out the half on fire, making each of its final five shots.
Over the opening 20 minutes, the Golden Eagles shot 46.7 percent from the floor, including the 5-for-5 stretch to close the half, which featured a pair of 3-pointers by redshirt freshman Hunter Vick and two lay-ins by fellow rookie Jr. Clay.
Tech kept pace with the Vols early in the second half, heading into the second media break with just a five-point differential for the second stanza. The Golden Eagles four early success, hitting six of their first nine shots of the half.
The offense cooled for Tech down the stretch, however, allowing the Vols to extend the lead late.
For the contest, Clay paced the purple and gold with 16 points. He also posed team-highs of five assists and three steals. Vick tallied nine points and four assists while hitting a team-best three triples.
Courtney Alexander II just missed his second straight double-double, posting seven points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Freshman Garrett Golday hit a season-high two 3-pointers on his way to eight points.
Grant Williams led the Vols with a game-high 25 points while Admiral Schofield chipped in 16. Also in double figures for Tennessee were Jordan Bone with 16 points and John Fulkerson with 15.
Tech will officially kick off Ohio Valley Conference play next Thursday, Jan. 3 with an in-state battle against rival Tennessee State. Tip is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. start in the Gentry Center in Nashville, following the Golden Eagle women's contest.
Photo by Tony Marable