No. 7 Tennessee scored exactly 80 points in each of its first two victories of the season.
The Volunteers (2-0) may need more than that to beat high-scoring Wofford (2-0) on Tuesday night in Knoxville, Tenn.
The Terriers pulled out a 99-98 victory on Saturday against High Point after scoring 85 in their opener.
History is on Tennessee’s side, having swept the seven previous meetings with Wofford from 1952 to 2004.
The Volunteers are coming off an impressive 80-70 win Friday night at Wisconsin, their first road victory against a current Big Ten school since 1992.
Northern Colorado transfer Dalton Knecht led the Volunteers with 24 points against the Badgers. Josiah-Jordan James added 14 points and Jonas Aidoo and Jordan Gainey each had 10.
“We’re comfortable every time the ball is in his hands,” James said of Knecht. “In the crunch time of games — the last eight minutes — we feed off him on the offensive end. He led us to the promised land today.”
Added teammate Tobe Awaka, “Dalton’s a bad man, a very bad man.”
Knecht led the Volunteers with 17 points in the season-opening 80-42 win against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 6. The fifth-year guard is 14-for-26 from the field and 10-for-12 from the line through two games.
Head coach Rick Barnes said he wants to see the same focus and effort from Knecht at the defensive end of the court.
“He knows he’s gotta get better,” Barnes said after the win at Wisconsin. “As soon as he walked in, guys congratulated him. He said, ‘Look, I gotta get better defensively.’ As long as he’ll keep that attitude, he’ll be fine.”
Seven different players have made at least one 3-pointer in the early going for Tennessee — and preseason All-SEC selection Santiago Vescovi isn’t one of them (0-for-5). The fifth-year guard is off to a slow start with seven points and seven personal fouls in 50 minutes.
In addition to more offensive punch from Vescovi, the Vols will be looking to slow down the fast-paced Terriers.
Seven players scored in double figures and Wofford only committed six turnovers in Saturday’s shootout against High Point. Dillon Bailey led the way with 20 points and Kyler Filewich, Corey Tripp and Quentin Meza each had 12.
Tripp sank two free throws with two seconds remaining to clinch the victory in a game with 12 lead changes.
The Terriers were aggressive on defense, sending the Panthers to the free-throw line 48 times (39 makes) with two players (Filewich and Jackson Sivills) fouling out.
Tripp averaged 8.8 points per game last season and is Wofford’s top returning scorer. He is at 15.5 per game so far in 2023-24, second on the team to Bailey (16.0). Two freshmen — Jeremy Lorenz (11.5) and Meza (10.0) — also are scoring in double figures.
“I’m excited to take upon that challenge,” Tripp, a junior, said of his role as a leader on the team. “I feel like I’ve prepared to do that my whole life. Being able to take all the new guys in and put them under my wing … I know what it feels like for them.”
–Field Level Media