A year of high expectations got off to an expected start.
Despite an ugly second half.
Hosting Kennesaw State in the 2012-13 season opener, the Tennessee men's basketball team marched to a 76-67 victory Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena, but all wasn’t positive.
The Vols (1-0) led by as many as 27 in the second half.
Guards Skylar McBee and Jordan McRae combined to lead UT with 14 points apiece. McBee hit four of six 3-pointers, while McRae converted five of six attempts from the floor.
Kenny Hall added 13 points and six rebounds.
In a chippy second half, the Vols saw a 61-34 lead trimmed to single digits. It could have been closer if Kennesaw hadn’t shot 7-for-16 from the free-throw line in the half.
Despite shooting 70.8 percent from the field during the opening 20 minutes, the Vols held a closer-than-it-should-be 42-30 lead at half.
Seven offensive rebounds for Kennesaw and seven UT turnovers were the culprit.
UT coach Cuonzo Martin mixed and matched lineups early, at one point playing three freshman at once. With D’Montre Edwards, Quinton Chievous and Armani Moore on the floor together, the Owls turned an early 10-4 deficit
into an 11-10 lead.
Markeith Cummings, who led Kennesaw (0-1) with 15.4 points per game last year, was held scoreless until the 10:58 mark of the second half.
The rout was on by then. UT led 61-38.
Delbert Love led the Owls with a game-high 16 points.