The Tennessee basketball program tipped off its season on Tuesday night against UNC-Asheville and was able to lock down the win.
The Tennessee Volunteers basketball program started a new era on Tuesday night. An era that Grant Williams and Admiral Schofield won’t be a part of on the court.
Tennessee basketball now has to look for new sources of production, and we learned a few things in the opening game for the Vols.
One thing we learned is that Lamonte Turner hasn’t improved from the three-point line and still isn’t afraid to shoot the ball. Throughout last season, we saw Turner throw up threes like there was no tomorrow, and a lot of the time, he missed those shots.
On Tuesday night, Turner went 2-for-8 from three, continuing his struggles from beyond the arc. This is a small sample size, so maybe it’s due to a rusty start to the season, but from what we’ve seen, he hasn’t quite improved from outside to the level we had hoped for this offseason.
Turner did finish the game with 17 points, so even though he struggled from three, he was able to make shots inside the arc. He finished 7-for-17 from the field, so at least he’s still putting up points, and there is still room for improvement.
The second thing we learned is that Yves Pons isn’t completely broken. Last season Pons started out the season playing pretty good, and he was getting a decent amount of minutes. He slipped down the rotation throughout the season and continued to get worse.
Pons had a career night in the Vols’ season opener. He finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three blocks.
This is a positive thing for Pons as the Vols are going to need him to be productive throughout the season. If he slips again, then the Vols will be left to depend on John Fulkerson all season. Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes even liked what he saw from Pons.
"“He’s a great worker,” Rick Barnes said. “I could put him up there with anybody we’ve had since we’ve been in coaching. He works at it. He’s going to do everything he can to do try to do it right, to a fault, to be honest with you.”"
The final thing we saw last night is that there’s still a home-court advantage. Tennessee won its 27th consecutive home game on Tuesday night.
That’s the longest active streak in Division I basketball, and that’s no surprise because Tennessee has the best fanbase in the country.
The Vols now have a week off until their next game. Tennessee will take on Murray State on November 12, and after that, the Vols season gets a little tougher with Washington. We will learn a lot more after next week, but for now, we will have to take what we can get.