The Tennessee men’s basketball team won its second and final preseason game of the season Wednesday night with at 97-58 victory over Lincoln Memorial University.
Head coach Bruce Pearl was pleased with his team’s effort.
“There were areas I wanted to improve on tonight, and I thought we did,” he said. “I thought our defense was better. We would have liked to have shot the ball better. I knew we would struggle because they are a better defensive team. This was a little bit better test for us tonight.”
Sophomore Scotty Hopson led the scoring for the Vols with 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting from the field.
“(Hopson) is very, very comfortable offensively,” Pearl said. “(He’s) got to continue to stay strong with the ball … and be mindful of not turning the ball over.”
Seniors Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism each scored 11 points while Chism grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Smith didn’t play in the second half after the Vols led 53-31 at the break.
Chism likes the way the team played defensively with Pearl implementing his trademark full-court press defense more this year.
“We got off to a great start,” Chism said. “It was a good game in the first half, but we stepped our defense up and made a couple of big turnovers in the second half and did some good things at the end.”
Junior college transfer Melvin Goins got the start over Bobby Maze at point guard and contributed two points to go along with five assists and two steals in only 12 minutes of action. Maze was 4-of-9 from the field for eight points and added four assists and seven rebounds.
Freshmen Skylar McBee and Kenny Hall each contributed nine points.
Junior Cameron Tatum got the start over senior J.P. Prince at wing and scored six points on 3-of-8 shooting from the field and added six rebounds.
“I thought Cameron, through practice, had deserved the start,” Pearl said. “I wanted to start Cameron, and J.P. came to me before the game and said, ‘Coach, I know you want to start Cameron, and it’s either going to be me or Scotty to be replaced, so start him in my place.’”
Off the bench, Prince scored eight points, including hitting 6-of-8 from the free-throw line while also snagging four steals.
Junior Brian Williams played only in the second half but scored three points and grabbed seven rebounds. Sophomore Renaldo Woolridge added four points.
D’Mario Curry led the way for the Railsplitters, scoring 24 points to go along with eight rebounds and two steals.
The Vols will tip off the regular season on Nov. 13 at home against the Austin Peay Governors.
Pearl noted that the Vols will go with a 10-man rotation for the season. Pearl said he will no longer experiment with different lineups.
“What’s next is two hard days (of practice),” Pearl said. “We’re going to focus on some advanced scouting these next two days and take a look at Asheville and East Carolina and then spend all next week on Austin Peay.”