KNOXVILLE, TENN. -- Tennessee’s big men worried The Citadel heading into Monday night’s basketball game, but it was the Vols’ guards who did the damage in an 86-60 win over the Bulldogs before 13,394 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena.
Jordan McRae scored 20 points and backcourt mate Antonio Barton added 13 as Tennessee improved its record to 2-1. The Bulldogs, led by Matt Van Scyoc’s 19 points, had their two-game win streak snapped and fell to 2-3.
Tennessee’s pair of 6-8 forwards, Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon, combined for 16 points and nine rebounds against a young Bulldogs frontcourt led by freshmen Tom Koopman and Brian White.
“In our game against Presbyterian, they really hurt us inside,” Citadel coach Chuck Driesell said, recalling the Bulldogs’ 82-68 win over PC. “We knew that this game could be very similar, and we didn’t want that to happen. So we doubled down in the post, and it was very effective for us. That’s something we can utilize later in the season.”
The Bulldogs, who are at Wake Forest on Thursday, could also use more performances like the one turned in by Van Scyoc, a 6-6 sophomore. He hit 6 of 13 shots, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, against an SEC foe.
“Matt looked like he belonged out there, right from the get-go,” Driesell said. “He hits a couple of shots, he’s loose and confident, and he did what he’s been doing the last four games. He didn’t allow their size and pressure to tighten him up.”
But Van Scyoc was the only Bulldog to score in double figures. Quinton Marshall had eight points, while White, Ashton Moore and Raemond Robinson scored six each. Moore, 14 of 22 from the field in the last two games, was just 1 of 9 against the Vols, but had six assists.
“Our guys learned a lot tonight,” Driesell said. “Matt demonstrated that he can play against that type of environment, and the other guys will learn how to do that.”
Tennessee ran out to a quick 17-4 lead as McRae hit two treys and Barton one, and led by as many as 20 in the first half. The Bulldogs could only get as close as 14 points in the opening minute of the second half.
The Citadel made 8 of 18 shots from 3-point range and turned the ball over just 13 times, but shot only 14 of 22 from the foul line. The Vols blocked six shots with eight steals, and out-rebounded the Bulldogs, 41-29.