The Tennessee men's basketball team posted advantages of 49-28 in rebounds and 20-6 in second-chance points en route to an 82-67 win over Morehead State before a crowd of 15,207 on Monday night (Dec. 23) at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Southeastern Conference Volunteers improve to 7-4 on the season and 5-1 at home. The Ohio Valley Conference Eagles fall to 8-6 overall and 3-4 on the road. Tennessee also improves to 4-0 in the all-time series against Morehead State.
Tennessee connected on 53 percent (32-of-61) from the field, including 61 percent (17-of-28) in the first half, and 50 percent (6-of-12) from three-point range. The Volunteers also tallied advantages of 20-5 in assists and 44-36 in paint points.
"I said this game would come down to rebounding -- and it did," Head Coach Sean Woods said. "Give Tennessee a lot of credit. They have physical post players who whipped us in the rebounding department on both ends of the floor."
Junior Josh Richardson led four UT players in double figures with a season-best 19 points. Senior Jeronne Maymond added 16 for the Volunteers, while junior Jarnell Stokes tallied 13 and sophomore Derek Reese registered 12 off the bench.
Reese, who was playing in his first game this year, also pulled down a game-best 10 rebounds. Stokes contributed nine boards, while Maymon and Richardson yanked down eight each. The Volunteers managed a 17-9 edge on the offensive end.
"I think Tennessee is going to be pretty good in the Southeastern Conference this season," Woods said. "It seems like they're getting better and better each time they hit the floor. We didn't play well tonight, but they had a lot to do with that."
Tennessee built a 15-point advantage with 6:05 to play in the first half and held a 41-30 lead at intermission. The Volunteers began the second period on a 13-0 run and opened up a big lead of 26 points with 11:26 remaining.
Sophomore Brent Arrington and junior Angelo Warner collected 16 points apiece for Morehead State, while senior Drew Kelly added 13 points on 4-of-5 from the floor. Arrington was credited with five steals, while Warner notched three.
The Eagles, who began the day +121 in total rebounds and +92 in offensive boards through 14 tilts, were outrebounded for the first time this season. Morehead State continues to lead the league in rebounding at 39.1 per outing.
"Tonight was a good experience for us," Woods added. "This is a difficult place to play, and this game should serve us well in the long run. The bottom line was we didn't make enough shots, and Tennessee rebounded really well."
MSU wraps up its non-conference slate next Monday (Dec. 30) against NAIA opponent Asbury. Tip-off from Johnson Arena is set for 7 p.m. The Eagles open conference play on Jan. 2 at SIU Edwardsville and on Jan. 4 at Eastern Illinois.