Vols Thump Florida Gulf Coast 81-50
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Olivier Nkamhoua and Josiah-Jordan James each scored 18 points to lead No. 22 Tennessee to a 81-50 victory over Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday night.
“We focused on learning a tough loss the hard way,” said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. “We talked about defense. Who do we want to be? What do you want to be?”
The Volunteers (2-1) bounced back from a loss to Colorado over the weekend by focusing on defense and limiting Florida Gulf Coast to 30% shooting (14 of 46).
“They did such a good job defending us,” Florida Gulf Coast coach Pat Chambers said. “Tennessee was really the scrappy team. We knew after the loss to Colorado we were going to have some angry Tennessee guys coming at us.”
Zach Anderson led the Eagles (2-2) with 11 points.
Julian Phillips had 11 points and Jahmai Mashack came off the bench and scored 10 points in the second half for Tennessee.
“It’s been tough trying to figure out my role on the team,” Mashack said. “It helped that my coaches and teammates had my back.”
Tennessee outscored the Eagles 28-14 in the paint.
“On offense, we want to be an inside-out team,” Barnes said.
Florida Gulf Coast went nearly five minutes without scoring midway through the first half. Meanwhile, Tennessee scored 14 points and built a a double-digit lead. The Vols led 37-20 at the break.