KNOXVILLE, Tenn-Tennessee was dominant enough for one six-minute stretch to make up for any youthful mistakes it made the rest of the night.
Robert Hubbs III scored 16 points to lead six Tennessee players in double figures Tuesday as the Volunteers capitalized on a 21-0 first-half spurt in a 103-94 victory over Appalachian State.
Tennessee, which has seven true freshmen and one redshirt freshman on its roster, bounced back from a season-opening 82-69 home loss to Chattanooga and avoided its first 0-2 start since 1965-66.
“I can’t imagine there’s a younger team,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “I do think we did some things better from the first gme, but we still, at times tonight, acted like the really young basketball team we are.”
The Vols (1-1) trailed 11-9 early before reeling off 21 straight points by feasting on Appalachian State turnovers. Jordan Bone and Grant Williams each scored five points during that 21-0 run, which culminated with a 3-pointer from Jordan Bowden.
Tennessee led by as many as 26 points during a first half in which the Vols forced 15 turnovers.
“I think we missed some easy ones and I think they ramped up their pressure,” Appalachian State coach Jim Fox said. “It slowed us down. Our guys were making uncharacteristic mistakes. If we passed the ball up, we caught the ball right by halfcourt so they trapped us. We were really tentative with things that we did. Credit them. They did a great job. They’re tremendously athletic.”
The Vols weren’t quite as effective the rest of the way. Appalachian State (0-2) got the margin all the way down to seven with 58 seconds left but couldn’t get any closer.
Tennessee won with a balanced scoring attack.
Lamonte Turner scored 15 points, Bowden had 14. Kyle Alexander and Williams each had 13 and Shembari Phillips added 11 for Tennessee.
“I feel like everybody on our team can score the ball,” Bowden said. “Everybody gives the ball and is not really selfish on offense.”
Ronshad Shabazz and Patrick Good each scored 21 for Appalachian State. Griffin Kinney had 13 points and Kelvin Robinson added 12.