Knoxville, Tenn.--(UTSports) Tennessee won its third game in a row as the Vols dominated Tennessee State, 88-67, at Thompson-Boling Arena on Friday night. It was the Vols second consecutive wire-to-wire victory and seventh in the Cuonzo Martin era.
The Vols (3-1) were led by Wooden Award Candidates Jordan McRae (25 points) and Jarnell Stokes (16 points and eight rebounds). It was McRae's ninth career game with 25 points or more.
Freshman Darius Thompson had the best game of his young career with five points, seven assists and five steals in 24 minutes. Fellow frosh Robert Hubbs III added 10 points.
Tennessee State remained winless at 0-6. The Tigers were led by Patrick Miller, who scored 20.
The Tigers hung with the Vols and got within seven points early in the second half, but Tennessee pulled away midway in the second half thanks to an 18-6 run. The Vols took a 63-44 lead on a McRae layup with 10:24 left in the second half.
UT grabbed its first 20-point advantage on Rawane Ndiaye's first points with the Vols as he swooped in for a layup with 7:25 left in the game. That gave the Vols a 73-52 lead.
Tennessee led 38-30 at halftime, with McRae topping the scoring charts with 11 points. The Vols with judicious with the ball as they did not commit a turnovers for the game's first 16:30. UT shot 57 percent from the floor in the half.
Back-to-back breakaway slams by freshman Darius Thompson and McRae put the Vols ahead by double-figures for the first time at 24-13 with less than eight minutes left in the first half.
The Vols used a 10-2 run finished off by layups from Thompson and Armani Moore to take a 35-19 lead with four minutes left in the half. That was the Vols largest lead of the half.
Thompson’s seven assists were the most by a Vols freshman since Trae Golden had 8 vs. Memphis (1/5/11) and his five steals were the most by a freshman since Tobias Harris also had five vs. Belmont (12/23/10).
The Vols head to The Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis next week. Tennessee will take on UTEP for the second time in history (only other was in 1962) on Thanksgiving Night at 9:30 p.m., ET. The game will air on NBC Sports Network and can be heard on the Vol Network. Tennessee will also play on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 as part of the event.