KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (UT Release) - The Vols used hot shooting early on and gritty defense throughout to post a 76-67 win over Kennesaw State on Friday night. Skylar McBee and Jordan McRae led the Vols with 14 points apiece. Kenny Hall (13) and Jarnell Stokes (10) also scored in double-figures as the Vols won their 14th straight season opener. The Vols are now 24-2 all-time in home openers at Thompson-Boling Arena, winning the last 21 home debuts.
Tennessee (1-0) shot 60.5 percent from the floor (26-of-43) for the game including 70.8 in the first half. The Vols were a crisp 7-of-12 from beyond the arc thanks to strong 3-point shooting efforts from McBee (4-of-7) and McRae (3-of-4).
Kennesaw (0-1) battled the Vols til the end and closed a 27-point deficit to the final margin of nine. The Owls were led by Aaron Anderson (16 points and 12 rebounds) and Delbert Love, who also had 16.
The Vols opened the second half on a 12-1 run to bust open the game and take a commanding 54-31 lead on a 3-point play (dunk and free throw) by McRae with 14:37 left in the game. The margin jumped to that game-high 27 points on the first Vol points from D'Montre Edwards, whose layup with 11:49 left in the game made it 61-34. Kennesaw closed the game on a 33-15 spurt.
Tennessee lead the Owls, 42-30, at halftime thanks to some remarkable shooting from the floor. The Vols made 70.8 percent from the floor (17-of-24). Hall and McRae led the Vols with eight points.
Kennesaw battled the Vols close throughout the first half as Tennessee was unable to pull away early. McBee's second 3-pointer of the first half opened a nine-point lead at 30-21 with 5:17 left in the half. The Vols continued to expand the margin as McRae canned a 3-pointer late in the half.
The Vols used an 8-0 run to take a 10-4 lead on a Josh Richardson dunk, 5:22 into the first half.
Tennessee heads to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in Bayamon, P.R. The Vols will open the event against UNC-Asheville on Nov. 16 at 12:30 p.m. That game will air on ESPNU and can be heard on the Vol Network.
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