As the game turned: In Tennessee's second matchup in three days versus a South Carolina-based mid-major school, the Volunteers ran away with things early, limiting The Citadel to just 5-of-20 shooting through the game's first 17 minutes en route to a 86-60 victory over the Bulldogs. UT forced nine first half turnovers and reeled off a 13-3 run over a nearly 8-minute stretch, pushing their lead to 19 with 5:56 until the break.
"I think we came out more aggressively on the defensive end," Antonio Barton said. "I think we came out and played good as a whole team."
Head coach Cuonzo Martin rested many of the starters in the second half as the bench was emptied late in the game.
Hot topic: A solid compliment to the early defensive pressure, Martin's squad drained four 3-pointers by the 12-minute mark in the first half as Jordan McRae and Antonio Barton each started 2-of-2 from behind the arc.
"We have guys that can make shots," Martin said. "We have four to five legitimate guys that can make shots from the 3-point line."
UT finished 56.6 percent from downtown and currently ranks third in the SEC in that category.
Spotlight: Known primarily as one of UT's most trusted defenders, Josh Richardson took on more of a non-traditional role Monday night as he showed off his athleticism and flare with two charismatic dunks.
With three minutes remaining in the first half and the Vols leading by 18, the junior guard pickpocketed a Bulldog defender at mid-court and followed with a left-handed jam; a rarity for the right-handed Richardson.
"Just being with the left (hand), the way he got somebody trailing him," McRae said. "To be able to dunk with your left hand like that being right handed (was impressive)."
The Edmond, Okla., native wasn't finished, though, as he answered his initial showing with some assistance from Darius Thompson. The freshman point guard tossed up a perfectly-placed lob, and Richardson did the rest, throwing down the alley-oop jam which pushed UT's second half lead to 53-33.
As for which one McRae thought was better?
"(The alley-oop) all was cool, but I think his left-handed dunk was better."
The other guys: Matt Van Scyoc led the Bulldogs with 19 points as the 26-point loss snapped The Citadel's two-game winning streak.
Outside the box score: Senior D'Montre Edwards and sophomore Galen Campbell made their regular season debuts Monday night, combining for eight minutes, four points and one rebound.
Say something: When asked about the current rotation, Martin said, "I think right now we've got a solid seven-and-a-half ... If we can stretch that to a strong eight or possibly nine — it sounds like I'm playing cards or something — we'll be alright."
By the numbers:
0: The Citadel had zero fast break points compared to UT’s 15.
38: Martin’s squad doubled up the Bulldogs, outscoring them in the paint 38-16.
2: The Citadel only scored two points off turnovers in the second half after posting 13 in the first.
Up next: The Vols host Tennessee State on Friday Nov. 22. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m.