KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tyreke Key came off the bench and scored 17 points to lead the No. 11 Tennessee to a 75-43 win over Tennessee Tech in both teams’ season opener on Monday night.
Key, a transfer from Indiana State, connected on four of his eight 3-pointers and ignited a sluggish Volunteer offense. Zakai Zeigler scored all but two of his 12 goals in the second half.
Brett Thompson led the Golden Eagles with 15 points.
Tennessee struggled in the first half, building an 11-point lead at 27-16.The Vols shot 31% (9 of 29) from the field and 19% (4 of 21) from 3-point range. Key led by 11 points.
At the pay-per-view exhibition with preseason No. 2 Gonzaga in late October, the Vols were quite impressive. The halftime score was tight, but Tennessee got away with his 99–80 win. It didn’t count, so the question remains. Will/should it be taken into consideration for votes on next season’s first ballot?
Tennessee Tech: The experience Tennessee Tech gains against quality opponents like Tennessee will pay off throughout the season. By comparing it to one of the best companies in the country, he knows what to focus on going forward.
Tennessee: Solidifying the rotation is essential for Rick Burns. When Josiah’s Jordan James missed both exhibitions and his offseason knee surgery healed, the Vols played well against Michigan State in his scrimmage and Gonzaga in the exhibition. Add a preseason All-His SEC player like James and the Vols should be even better.
Tennessee Tech: Thursday at home to Tennessee Wesleyan.
Tennessee: Sunday’s “Neutral Site” game against Colorado at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP- – Top 25