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Tenessee B-Ball Puts Cap On Tigers

No. 9 Tennessee didn't live up to its own expectations -- or anyone else's -- in a season-opening loss to Arizona, but played more like it expected to in a 91-69 victory over Tennessee State Sunday.

"I'd much rather have six guys in double figures than have one with 75 points," said Volunteers coach Jerry Green. "We shared the ball as well as we ever have, and our defensive effort was better."

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  • Isiah Victor had 17 points and nine rebounds to lead six players in double figures as the Vols (1-1) rebounded from a one-point lost to No. 18 Arizona two nights ago in a tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.

    "It hasn't been an easy weekend," Green said.

    Charles Hathaway scored 15 points, C.J. Black 14, Brandon Wharton 13, and Vincent Yarbrough and Rashard Lee each had 11 for Tennessee.

    The Tigers (0-1) were led by Jamie Roberts with 22 points and Demario Jones with 21.

    "Tennessee's depth and strength were too much for us," said TSU coach Frankie Allen.

    Tennessee shot 36 percent from the floor and allowed Arizona to shoot 53 percent in Friday's loss.

    Sunday the Vols hit 30 of 61 from the floor (49 percent), including 17 of 28 (61 percent) in the second half. Tennessee State shot 41 percent for the game (23-of-56).

    "I thought Tony Harris did a better job leading the team. He showed he can score and direct the team, too," Green said. "Isaiah Victor had his beat game, well-rounded in rebounding and scoring."

    Tennessee led 40-33 at the half. The Tigers, behind eiht quick points by Jones, closed to within 48-45 early in the second half, but that's as close as they would get.

    "Tennessee kicked it into another gear at that point," Allen said. "That's what you expect from the No. 9 ranked team in the country."

    Tennessee ran off 10 consecutive points over the next four minutes to take a 58-45 lead and was never seriously threatened again.

    The Tigers, runners-up in the Ohio Valley Conference last year, got back to within eight at 64-56 on a 3-pointer by Jones with eight minutes to go.

    Yarbrough, Tennessee's prized freshman, stuffed home a rebound and scored off a feed from Tony Harris to quickly build the margin back to 12 points. The lead grew to 75-60 on back-to-back buckets by Victor with five minutes to play.

    Yarbrough got his first start despite shooting just 1-for-8 from the floor Friday.

    "I decided on the way home from New Mexico we have to get something out of Vincent," Green said. "We have to put him out there and let him make his mistakes. He's just too heralded for spot play."

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