Freshman trio pushes Vols to 72-43 win over Florida A&M

Published 12:50 am Friday, December 6, 2019

KNOXVILLE – Behind a staunch defensive effort, No. 21 Tennessee moved past Florida A&M, 72-43, Wednesday night in Thompson-Boling Arena.

The 43 points scored by the Rattlers (0-7) were the second-fewest points scored by a Tennessee opponent this season. It also marked the fewest points for Florida A&M this season. It was the third time this season the Vols (7-1) held an opponent to fewer than 50 points.

The Vols limited the Rattlers to just 35.6 percent shooting from the field, as only two Florida A&M players shot better than 50 percent on the night. Tennessee’s 29-point margin of victory Wednesday was its second-highest margin this season.

Freshman Olivier Nkamhoua had a breakout performance, recording his first career double-double and the fourth for any Tennessee player this season.

The Helsinki, Finland, native nearly doubled his season-high with 13 rebounds–with seven coming on the offensive glass. He also posted a season-high 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting while adding a team-high two blocks.

Fellow Vols freshman Josiah-Jordan James finished with a season-high in points with 10, while freshman Davonte Gaines added seven. The first-year trio accounted for nearly 40 percent of the Vols’ scoring.

Their efforts helped push the nation’s longest active home winning streak to 31 games, the third-longest in program history.

In total, Tennessee had five players finish with double-digit points. John Fulkerson tallied a game-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting. It was just two points off his career-high and was the sixth time in eight games this season he has scored in double-figures.

Yves Pons posted 14 points to go along with seven rebounds, two steals, and a block. The 6-6 junior has now recorded at least one block in every game this season and double-digit points in six games.

Lamonte Turner was the final Vol with double-digit points, all 10 of which came in the first half.

After Florida A&M scored a basket in the opening minute of the game, Tennessee held the Rattlers without a field goal for the next 9:15 in the half. During the stretch, UT built the lead to 14 points.

By halftime, the Vols had pushed the lead to 21 points, their largest lead at the midway point this season. Both Pons and Turner were in double figures as their combined 22 points outscored the entire Florida A&M team by four.

Tennessee made the most of its second-chance opportunities, scoring 14 points on eight offensive rebounds in the first half. The Rattlers grabbed just 11 total rebounds through the first 20 minutes.

TOP TEN TAY: Lamonte Turner moved into the top 10 in program history in 3-point field goals Wednesday. In four seasons on Rocky Top, Turner has made 171 3-pointers, which ranks second among all active SEC players. 

He entered UT’s all-time top 10 with a three at the 5:24 mark in the first half. He is currently tied with Greg Bell (1987-91) for 10th and is eight triples back of tying Jordan McRae (2010-14) and Vincent Yarbrough (1998-2002) for eighth.

PROTECTING OUR FLOOR: With the victory, Tennessee extended its home winning streak to 31 games, the longest active streak in Division I.

The 37-game win streak from 2006-09 and a 33-game win streak from 1966-68 stand as the only longer home win streaks in program history.

ONE WIN AWAY: Head Coach Rick Barnes is now just one win away from becoming the 22nd coach in NCAA history to reach 700 victories in his career.

During Barnes’ five years on Rocky Top, the Vols hold a 54-15 record as a ranked team (per the AP poll).

PONS PRODUCTION: Through just eight games this season, Yves Pons surpassed his combined point production from his first two seasons at Tennessee. This season he has upped his production to 12.6 points per game, an increase of 11 points over his first two seasons.
UP NEXT: Tennessee is off for nine days for exams before a top-25 matchup with in-state foe Memphis Dec. 14. Tipoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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