The Tennessee Volunteers couldn't overcome trouble at the free throw line and fell to the Xavier Musketeers, 67-63, inside the Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio Tuesday.
Even though the Vols never led at any point in the game, several missed free throws by Xavier in the final minute kept hope alive.
Two late 3-pointers by senior forward Jordan McRae weren't enough to save the Vols, however, as UT shot an underwhelming 7-for-19 (37 percent) from the charity stripe.
The Vols started the game slow, shooting 1-of-17 from the floor and going more than six minutes without a point and more than seven minutes without a field goal in the first half.Tennessee trailed Xavier, 27-20, at halftime as the Vols shot just 26.7 percent in the first half, making 8-of-30 from the floor, but played tough enough defense only trail by seven going into the break.
A big factor the Vols slow start was the early foul trouble of Jarnell Stokes, which forced the junior forward to the bench after playing just five minutes in the first half.
Stokes finished the game with four points and four rebounds in 19 minutes as the Memphis native fouled out with 2:40 remaining in regulation.In his return to action after missing the entire 2012-13 season Jeronne Maymon had seven points and 10 rebounds.
The loss snapped a streak of 14 consecutive season-opening victories for UT.
The Vols return home to open their home slate against USC-Upstate on Saturday at 7 p.m. That game airs on SportSouth and can be heard on the Vol Network.