KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Josh Richardson scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds Thursday as Tennessee defeated Texas Southern 70-58 in its first home game under new coach Donnie Tyndall.
The Volunteers (1-1) won their 23rd consecutive home opener and avoided their first 0-2 start since 1965-66. Tennessee had opened the season Friday with an 85-69 loss to No. 15 VCU at Annapolis, Maryland.
Kevin Punter added 13 points, Armani Moore scored 11 and Willie Carmichael had 10 for Tennessee.
“The coaching staff motivated this week all through practice and my teammates did,” said Carmichael. “Josh Richardson, our captain, and Armani Moore, they motivated me to push myself and it turns out coach actually gave me a chance this week and I performed.”
“Well Willie is an aggressive guy and I don’t think he avoids contact,” said Tyndall. “The problem with Willie is he’s about a cheeseburger over 200 [pounds]. So, his being physical is a little different than in about a year and a half when he’s 225 being physical.”
Punter and Richardson each shot 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
David Blanks scored 14 points, Deverell Biggs had 12 and Chris Thomas added 11 for Texas Southern (0-3).
Texas Southern hung with Tennessee for much of the night and actually led 41-40 when Tonnie Collier’s 3-pointer capped an 8-0 run with 13:21 left. Tennessee went ahead for good on Punter’s 3-pointer with 12:14 remaining and eventually wore down the Tigers.
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