KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jarnell Stokes scored 18 points as one of five Tennessee players to reach double figures Tuesday in the Volunteers’ 78-62 victory over Presbyterian.
Trae Golden added 16 points for Tennessee (6-3). Skylar McBee and Jordan McRae had 12 points each, and D’Montre Edwards added 11 points. McRae was making his first start of the season in place of Kenny Hall, who sat out the game with a hamstring injury.
Presbyterian’s Khalid Mutakabbir scored 18 points, all in the second half.
Tennessee led 43-13 at halftime and extended its lead to 34 early in the second half before Presbyterian (2-9) heated up. After shooting 6-of-26 overall and 1-of-13 in the first half, Presbyterian went 18-of-28 overall and 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the second half.
Presbyterian’s late surge ended Tennessee’s streak of four consecutive games in which it had prevented opponents from exceeding 60 points. The Vols were seeking to hold five straight opponents to 60 points or less for the first time since 1981-82, four years before the start of the shot clock era.
While Tennessee’s defense has played well all season, the Vols’ offense finally showed signs of life Tuesday.
Even as it continually prevented opponents from exceeding 60 points, Tennessee had gone just 2-2 over its last four games because of its own scoring woes. Tennessee beat Oakland 77-50, lost 37-36 to Georgetown, fell 46-38 at Virginia and defeated Wichita State 69-60.
The Vols ended that scoring slump Tuesday.
Golden, who was named SEC player of the week Monday on the strength of his 25-point performance in a victory over Wichita State, built on his momentum against Presbyterian by dishing out eight assists without committing a single turnover.
The Vols also improved their accuracy from 3-point range.
Tennessee entered the night having made just 29.4 percent (37-of-126) of its 3-point attempts this season. Over their last three games, the Vols were making just 17.8 percent of their tries (8-of-45) from beyond the arc.
The Vols were 9-of-22 from 3-point range against Presbyterian. McBee scored all 12 of his points from beyond the arc on 4-of-10 shooting.
While Tennessee shot well all night, Presbyterian’s offense didn’t get going until the game was already out of reach.
Presbyterian made its first shot of the night to take a 2-0 lead, but the Blue Hose missed 13 of their next 14 attempts. Tennessee went on runs of 10-0 and 13-0 in the first half to grab a 30-point lead at the intermission.