KNOXVILLE — Tennessee tipped off the 2018-19 season with a 86-41 victory over Rick Barnes’ alma mater Lenoir-Rhyne.
“I love that place,” Barnes said of Lenoir-Rhyne following the victory. “I started walking on that campus somewhere in the early 1960s.”
The sixth-ranked Vols won in front of a crowd of 16,156 at Thompson-Boling Arena, the largest crowd for a home-opener since 2012.
Barnes was impressed with UT’s rotational players in the win.
Yves Pons finished with seven points, five rebounds and three blocks. John Fulkerson scored six points, five rebounds, two assists and had two steals alongside Derrick Walker’s two points, three rebounds and one assist.
“What I really liked from the very beginning was I thought our rotational guys were really, really good,” Barnes said. “I thought Yves Pons and John Fulkerson did a lot of really good things. Derrick Walker settled down and came back and did it. We knew going into the game we were going to be shorthanded with Lamonté Turner and Jalen Johnson being out.”