KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee buried 12 treys and outrebounded Carson-Newman by 21 in route to an 86-44 exhibition victory over the Eagles Thursday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
"We appreciate the opportunity, just to get information on ourselves," head coach Chuck Benson said. "Tennessee has established a toughness and physicality that we could not match, despite our best efforts. For us, we go away from this opportunity better prepared for Division II basketball. So we see that the glass is half full after this rather than half empty."
The Vols did their damage on the glass, especially in the first half. UT outboarded the Eagles 31-15 in the first half and had 11 second chance points.
On top of that, the Eagles' battled through ball security issues. C-N was forced into 12 first half turnovers leading to 14 Vol points off turnovers.
UT ended up outscoring the Eagles 15-0 in second chance points, and 26-2 in points off turnovers for the game.
"There's a difference between the levels, and that's good for our guys to see that," Benson said of playing up a division. "It should give our guys extra motivation to make the investment to be the best that we can possibly be."
Carson-Newman hung with Tennessee for the first 10 minutes, trailing by six with 9:30 to play. However, that's when preseason All-American Charles Clark (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) picked up his second foul and headed to the bench.
The Vols then blitzed C-N with a 22-4 run over the final 9:30 of the half to take a 20-point lead into the break.
UT pushed the lead out to 23 with under a minute to play following a quartet of Admiral Schofield free throws sandwiched around a Lamote Turner three and a Grant Williams turnaround jumper.
Reece Anderson (Douglas County, Ga.) buried a three at the horn to set the halftime margin at 45-25.
UT unleased a three-point barrage over the top of Carson-Newman's matchup zone. Tennessee buried three of the first five threes it took and finished 12-for-34 for the game. The volume of threes taken and made more than doubled what the Vols averaged last year.
"We came in playing the percentages (with our zone)," Benson said. "We knew that they had not been a team that had really utilized the three-point line in terms of volume of attempts. We though that might be a way to keep them deflated. But they jumped up and made shots with confidence. We rolled the dice so to speak, but they did a good job of developing a capability to use the three-point line."
Meanwhile, UT used a pressure man defense, plus oodles of size and length to clamp down on Clark.
The senior wound up as the only Eagle in double figures, finished with 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
Mason Bates (Cookeville, Tenn.) stuffed the stat sheet. He only had three points, be he snatched eight boards and doled out five assists.
While the game won't count toward official records, Josh Murray (Burlington, N.C.) would have established a new career high if it did. He wound up with eight points, going 3-for-5 from the floor.
"Charles has had a really good three-year career," Benson said. "We knew he would be a, if not the, focal point of their efforts defensively. We told him he might not be able to do the things that he normally we do at the Division II level. It was a learning process for him too. It was a great experience for Charles and our team to allow him to draw that attention, which he's going to, but also share the basketball. I feel like we will be able to do that based on his reputation and skillset."
UT was led by Grant Williams, who had a double-double by halftime. He finished with 18 points and 12 boards. Admiral Schofield added 17 points and five rebounds.
C-N shot 35 percent from the field and 33 percent from three, going 7-for-21 from distance, including 3-for-12 shooting from deep in the second half.
The Eagles open the regular season Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. against Lander. Pregame coverage against the Bearcats begins at 5:15 with the AEC Countdown to Tipoff on Mountain Country 106.3 (WPFT-FM, Sevierville).