KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – After an Admiral Schofield put back layup on the opening possession, No. 3 Tennessee led its pre-conference finale wire-to-wire, defeating Tennessee Tech 96-53 on Saturday in front of a season-high 21,165 fans.
The Vols (11-1) powered their way past the Golden Eagles (4-9) dunking the ball a season-high 12 times and blocking a season-high 12 shots en route to the 43-point victory. This marks the fifth time this season that Tennessee has defeated an opponent by 20-plus points inside of Thompson-Boling Arena.
It also is the most points the team has scored at home this season and was the second-largest margin of victory. The 43-point victory matches the largest margin of victory all-time against Tennessee Tech, with the other coming in a 65-22 win on Dec. 9, 1946.
Grant Williams finished with a game-high 25 points converting on 10-of-11 attempts from the field. Three other Vols joined Williams in double figures, including Jordan Bone who recorded his second double-double in three games, posting 16 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Tennessee finished the night shooting a season-high 63.8 percent from the field. For most of the game, the Vols were shooting better than 70 percent from the field, including a 74.4 percent mark in the first half.
John Fulkerson ended the game with a career-high 15 points with eight coming via dunk. The redshirt sophomore shot 6-of-7 from the field, adding four rebounds, two rebounds and two steals. Williams, Fulkerson and Schofield combined for 56 points in the game shooting 88.5 percent on 23-of-26 shooting.
Tennessee ended the last 10:32 minutes of play on a 23-4 run as the Vols limited the Golden Eagles to just 20 points in the second half.
The lead stretched out to 20-plus points just three minutes into the second half where it remained for the rest of the game. Tennessee led by as many as 44 points in the second half.
The Vols lead ballooned to double digits just seven minutes into the game as the team made nine of its first 12 attempts from the field. In just his first six minutes on the floor, Williams entered double figures, beating everyone down the floor to give Tennessee a 20-8 edge at the 12:45 mark of the first half.
Tennessee continued to attack the rim in the first half, dunking the ball eight times on the Golden Eagles. Seven of the dunks came within a six minute, 55 second stretch, as John Fulkerson’s breakaway slam extended the Tennessee edge to 27 points with 3:05 to play in the first half.
With the help of 18 points from Williams and 12 from Bone, the Vols took a 51-33 lead into the halftime break. Williams converted on 8-of-9 attempts from the field as Tennessee shot 74.2 percent in the half. The Vols 51 first half points are the most in the first half this season.
ALEXANDER CONTINUES TO CLIMB BLOCKS LIST: With three blocked shots against Tennessee Tech, senior forward Kyle Alexander moved into fourth place on the Tennessee’s all-time blocks list. The Milton, Ontario native now has 144 career blocks, just two behind third-place Doug Roth.
As a team, Tennessee finished with a season-high 12 blocked shots.
WILLIAMS REACHES 20 POINTS: Grant Williams’ 25 point performance against Tennessee Tech marks the 17th time that the Charlotte, N.C., native has reached the 20-point threshold in his Tennessee career, including the sixth time since this season.
MEET ME AT THE RIM: Tennessee registered a season-high 12 dunks during Saturday’s contest, which came from five different players. John Fulkerson (4), Yves Pons (3), Grant Williams (2), Admiral Schofield (2) and Kyle Alexander (1) all threw down for the Vols.
BONE REACHES DOUBLE-DOUBLE MILESTONE: Jordan Bone became the first Tennessee player to record two double-doubles from points and assists in the same season since Tyrone Beaman did so during the 1982-83 season.
Bone’s 16-point, 10-assist performance against Tennessee Tech joins his 24-point, 11-assist game against Samford for Dec. 19. Over the course of the past three games, Bone has dished out 26 assists while committing only four turnovers — a 6.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
UP NEXT: The Vols tip off Southeastern Conference play at home against Georgia on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. That game will air on SEC Network.