No. 21 Vols stay strong against Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (UT Athletics) — After a slow start Saturday, the 21st-ranked Tennessee Volunteers rode a hot second half to defeat Wake Forest, 79-60, at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
The Vols (9-2) shot 59 percent (17-of-29) from the field in the second stanza as part of a 43-25 lopsided score over the Demon Deacons (7-5) in the period. Tennessee got its best production from its starters, as a group, this season, as all five reached double-digit scoring to get a much-needed road win heading into Southeastern Conference play.
Sophomore guard Jordan Bowden continued to have the hot hand, dropping a team-high 17 points behind a perfect 5-of-5 performance from deep. Admiral Schofield finished with 14 points and six boards in the contest.
Jordan Bone took over the game in the second half, using his elite speed and elusiveness to get to the basket or create open shots for his teammates. He tallied 12 points and five assists. Forwards Kyle Alexander and Grant Williams both posted 11 points each.
After making it a two-possession game with 6:40 left in the contest, UT used an 8-4 run over the next three minutes of play to take a 69-60 lead into the final media timeout.
Out of the break, the Vols got a huge stop on defense and responded with a Schofield trey from the top of the key to make it a 12-point advantage. The Vols ended the game on a 16-2 run to give the Big Orange their second road win of the season over an ACC opponent (also won at Georgia Tech on Dec. 3).
Despite a sloppy first half, Tennessee entered intermission with a 36-35 lead over the Demon Deacons behind 46-percent shooting from the floor. Alexander paved the way on offense with nine points — seven coming in the final six minutes of the half — to go along with three boards and a block in 14 minutes of action.
The Vols got in foul trouble early on in the game, picking up their seventh foul and sending Wake Forest to the free-throw line with over 14 minutes left in the first half. UT cleaned things up, though, holding the Deacs to only 11 trips to the charity stripe, converting on 10 of those attempts to keep the game close going into the break.
UP NEXT: The Vols begin SEC play with a trip to Arkansas next Saturday before hosting Auburn (Jan. 2) and Kentucky (Jan. 6) in back-to-back home games at Thompson-Boling Arena.
WITH THE WIN: Tennessee enters SEC play with two or fewer losses for the first time since 2009-10. The Volunteers now hold a 2-0 record in true road games this season, both at ACC venues. UT also earned its fourth victory away from home over a Power Five opponent this season.