Vols Defeat Presbyterian, 88-53, in Season-Opener

Knoxville, Tenn. (UT Sports)-- Tennessee used a 28-0 run in the first half to fuel its way to an 88-53 victory over Presbyterian in its season-opener on Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena in front of 15,047 fans.

After Presbyterian scored the opening basket of the game, the Vols (1-0, 0-0 SEC) did not yield a point over the next nine minutes to help build a 46-14 lead going into halftime. UT also kept the Blue Hose (0-1, 0-0 Big South) scoreless over the final 2:11 of the opening frame while holding them to 26 percent shooting.

The 14 points allowed were the fewest Tennessee has given up in a first half since Dec. 18, 2012, when it held Presbyterian to just 13 points in the first-ever matchup between the two programs.

Jordan Bowden led the way offensively for the Vols in the half, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 3-for-3 from 3-point range. Bowden finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

The Vols' lockdown defense continued into the second half, as they did not allow a point until the 15:42 mark. Preseason All-SEC forward Grant Williamshauled in six defensive rebounds in the winning effort.

Williams added 14 points and three assists to his seven boards, and Admiral Schofield went for a game-high and career-high-tying 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting while posting five rebounds of his own. Redshirt freshman forward John Fulkerson dished out a team-high five assists in his first action since suffering a season-ending injury in Tennessee's 10th game last season (Dec. 15, 2016).

UT's offense remained consistent in the second half, as 12 Tennessee players scored at least one point on the night. The team finished with a 56 percent shooting mark.

Redshirt freshman Jalen Johnson made his collegiate debut in the second half. The Durham, North Carolina, native recorded two points and two rebounds in eight minutes of action.

Davon Bell led Presbyterian with 20 points, including a pair of three-pointers, and Lewis Francois netted 10 points.

Friday's game marked the head coaching debut of Kingsport, Tennessee, native Dustin Kerns, who took over the Presbyterian program earlier this year. Kerns was a men's basketball graduate assistant at Tennessee during the 2003-04 season.

LOCKDOWN FIRST HALF: Tennessee's 14 points allowed in the first half were its fewest allowed in an opening half since holding Presbyterian to 13 points on Dec. 18, 2012 (the first-ever meeting between the two teams). UT went on to win that game, 78-62.

WITH THE WIN: The Volunteers improved to 28-3 in home-openers at Thompson-Boling Arena and 3-0 all-time when facing Presbyterian. The victory also marked head coach Rick Barnes' 400th career home win.

FAST START: After Presbyterian's first basket to open the game, the Vols went on a commanding 28-0 run over nine and a half minutes of play. During that stretch, UT held the Blue Hose to 0-for-8 shooting.

UP NEXT: Tennessee will stay at home to face High Point at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 14. The game will be streamed online and viewable worldwide through SEC Network+ (WatchESPN).