Knoxville, TENN. (WATE) – No. 6 Tennessee largely looked like a top ten team in Wednesday’s 87-48 exhibition rout over Tusculum. Jordan Bowden finished with a game-high 16 points, Grant Williams added 15, and eight players scored at least six points for the Vols. Defensively, Tennessee held the Pioneers to 34% shooting and forced 25 turnovers, but as all coaches can do, Rick Barnes found plenty to take issue with in the win.
“It’s not about talent winning this game,” Barnes said in the wake of the 39-point win. “What we said to them last night, was let’s play better. Let’s play a better basketball game than they played. Regardless of what the score will be, let’s not think our talent’s gonna win, let’s see if we can play really good basketball. We did at times, but consistently, overall, with as much time as we’ve had together, we should be more consistent.”
Barnes spent the offseason harping on Williams, the reigning SEC Player of the Year, to assert himself as more of a rebounder, going so far as to say he thought Williams should average double digit rebounds a game. Williams finished tonight’s contest with 3.
“That’s totally on him, that’s an attitude,” Barnes said. “He’s either gonna think about ‘I’m gonna score, or do both and do what he needs to do.’ The fact is, he’s not making an effort to get to the boards. There’s no way he should have three rebounds in a game like this.”
Tennessee opens the season on November 6th against Barnes’ alma mater Lenoir-Rhyne.