A big run in the first half led to a 110-70 Tennessee victory over BK Kolin Saturday night in Kolin, Czech Republic.
A bucket by Duke Crews late in the first quarter broke a tied game and started a 17-12 Tennessee run that gave the Vols a 34-17 lead. BK Kolin never challenged again after the run as they were held to just 11 second quarter points while the Vols scored 27 in building a 55-28 halftime lead.
“I looked up at the score and it was 17-17 and we knew at that time we had to take over,” JaJuan Smith said after scoring a game-high 19 points. “We all started clicking. We got into our full court press and that started causing a lot of problems for them. Then, we started making shots and playing our type of basketball.”
The win was Tennessee’s second in as many games on its European tour. The Vols overwhelmed BK Sadska 113-64 Friday night in Podebrady, Czech Republic.
“Our zone defense was great the first night but tonight this team did a better job with their zone offense and they made us make some adjustments,” head coach Bruce Pearl said. “Because this defense is a form of the opponent’s offense, it will take some reading and some experience. Playing it has also helped us communicate better in our man-to-man defense.”
Ryan Childress and Wayne Chism each turned in double-doubles for the Vols Saturday. Childress had 16 points and a game-high 13 rebounds while Chism had 13 points and 10 rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. Chris Lofton and Crews each added 16 points and Jordan Howell had 12. Jiri Sebek and Tomas Kirsbaum led BK Kolin with 13 points each.
“I think everybody did a good job rebounding, especially in the second half,” Childress said. “BK Kolin was really physical inside. Once we figured that out, things got better as the game went on. I like the way they play in Europe. They play hard, physical and can step out and shoot the ball. I think that a lot of my strengths are playing well over here.”
A professional team located about an hour outside of Prague, BK Kolin was the Division 2 regular season and tournament champion last season with a 23-3 record and is making the move to the Czech Republic’s top professional division this upcoming season.
Attending the game was U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic Rick Graber along with his family. Following the game Graber posed with the team, coaches, Athletics Director Mike Hamilton and University of Tennessee President Dr. John Petersen for a group photo. The Vols first met Graber earlier this week when he was on their flight from Atlanta to Prague. Graber, a former managing partner in a Milwaukee law firm, was familiar with Pearl from his days coaching at UW-Milwaukee.
“Coach Pearl and his style of play are very popular in Milwaukee,” Graber said. “Tennessee is going to be one of the best teams in the country next year. It was very fun to come and seen them so close to Prague. It was an easy trip for us.”
Sunday morning the team will visit the Terezin Concentration Camp, located just 67 km from downtown Prague. The Vols do not play again until Tuesday, August 14, when they make the 350 km trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, to meet BK Nitra.
Be Sure To Catch Mike Griffith's Video Reports From Eastern Europe Next Week On Sports Overtime, Volunteertv.com, & At GoVolsXtra.com
Story Courtesy: UT Sports Information