Tennessee routs Middle TennesseeDec 1, 2010 - 4:02 AM Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) - Tobias Harris scored a game-high 21 points as 13th-ranked Tennessee easily handled Middle Tennessee State, 86-56, at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Scotty Hopson scored 19 and a trio of Vols added eight points for Tennessee (6-0), which is on the heels of its 78-68 win over Villanova for the NIT preseason crown.
"I thought we made progress tonight," said Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl. "We played pretty well as a team. I was concerned about Middle Tennessee State's ball-screen offense coming in because the players had to make a lot of decisions out there in coverage."
James Washington scored 11 and Rod Emanuel added 10 points for the Blue Raiders (3-4), who have dropped two of three.
JT Sulton finished with eight points and both Jason and Shawn Jones supplied six points in defeat.
The Vols controlled the game in the opening minutes and used a trio of alternating streaks to take the early lead.
Tennessee scored the first eight points of the game, but the Blue Raiders responded with a 10-0 run of their own.
Tennessee's Brian Williams made two from the line to spark a 21-0 streak for the Vols to put them up 29-10 with 7 1/2 minutes left in the half. The Blue Raiders ended the run with a Sulton driving layup but Hopson's deep three- pointer put Tennessee up 32-12.
The teams traded baskets down the stretch and Tennessee held a 46-23 lead heading into the intermission. Hopson scored 14 points in the half on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.
Kenny Hall's jumper midway through the second half extended the Vols' lead to 65-40, and after Hopson connected on two from the line with seven minutes remaining Tennessee had stretched the margin to 74-44.
The Vols' lead never dropped below 29 for the remainder of the contest.
"We just got totally out of character. We shot it on one pass and played really selfishly," Middle Tennessee head coach Kermit Davis said. "I thought Tennessee moved the ball really well. They played hard, played like an unselfish team. In the second half, we played a little better, had better ball movement."
Tennessee leads the all-time series, 9-1...Tennessee will be off until December 11th when it will face Pittsburgh...Hall, Trae Golden and Cameron Tatum each finished with eight for Tennessee...Williams finished with six points and nine rebounds for the victors...The Vols won the rebounding battle by a 41-21 margin.
- MIDDLE TENNESSEE: 56
Nov 30 9:32 PM
- MIDDLE TENNESSEE: 23
Nov 30 8:22 PM
- MIDDLE TENNESSEE: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Nov 30 7:36 PM
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- Forward Ray Kasongo leaving Tennessee after 1 season Apr 21
- Middle Tennessee State sets sights on upset of Syracuse Mar 19
- Michigan State promises it won't overlook MTSU Mar 17
- Tennessee optimistic about future after rare losing season Mar 12
- Tennessee's Kevin Punter Jr. to have season-ending surgery Mar 4
- Tennessee relying more on its freshmen late in season Feb 29
- Potts out indefinitely with concussion for Middle Tennessee Feb 26
- Tennessee head coaches will hold rare joint press conference Feb 22
- Tennessee falls below .500, second-half collapses a concern Feb 1
- Vols' Moore finds ways to contribute amid scoring slump Jan 25
- Lack of height has Tennessee relying on small-ball lineup Jan 19