Dan Fleser: Vols Outlast UNC-Asheville; Lady Vols Squeak Past ETSU On The Road In Basketball Openers

Tuesday, November 5, 2019 - by Dan Fleser

KNOXVILLE – Tennessee basketball opened on two fronts Tuesday night with the Vols playing UNC Asheville in Thompson-Boling Arena and the Lady Vols facing East Tennessee State 105 miles to the east in Johnson City.

Both teams began their respective makeover projects in different fashion, almost too different for the Lady Vols.  

Playing without departed stalwarts Grant Williams, Admiral Schofield, Jordan Bone and Kyle Alexander, the Vols won 78-63, pulling away to start the second half and leading by as many as 25 points.

Kellie Harper’s coaching debut for the Lady Vols featured six newcomers. They withstood a furious rally by the Bucs to win 72-68.

Lamonte Turner led four double-figure scorers with 17 points for the Vols, who played in spurts and were not overwhelming.

UT coach Rick Barnes was critical of Turner and fellow senior guard Jordan Bowden for committing 10 of the Vols’ 17 turnovers and for the team’s overall shot selection.

“They have to realize we have new pieces that we’ve got to put them together,” Barnes said.

Barnes also wasn’t happy with his team’s overall focus.

“Certain guys space out,” he said. “They forget the purpose we’re playing with.”

Along with missing the aforementioned foursome, Tennessee also was without 7-foot transfer Uros Plavisc, whose waiver request for eligibility this season was denied by the NCAA. Although UT’s initial appeal was denied, Barnes said on Monday that UT had another appeal option left.

“I’ve got full confidence in Coach (Phillip) Fulmer and our compliance people are going to do everything they can,” said Barnes, referencing Tennessee’s athletic director. “We’re all disappointed and somewhat surprised to be quite frank, so we’ll see how it goes.”

Plavsic began his U.S. basketball odyssey at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga. A four-star recruit in the 2018 recruiting class, Plavsic originally committed to play at Cleveland State, where Drazen Zlovaric, a former graduate assistant under Barnes, was on staff. He signed with Arizona State, though, after Zlovaric was added to the Sun Devils staff.

Plavsic redshirted during his freshman season. He transferred to UT after changes in Arizona State’s coaching staff left Zlovaric out of a job.

Tennessee’s comments on Plavic’s behalf drew the attention of Connecticut, which urged UT to offer more support for guard Evina Westbrook, who transferred to UConn from Tennessee during the offseason. Her waiver request also was denied and the Huskies are appealing the decision.

Westbrook’s departure factored into the Lady Vols starting their season without nearly 50 percent of their scoring from last season. They were without nearly 60 percent of their rebounding, too.

The Lady Vols led by 13 points early in the fourth quarter but didn’t make a field goal during the final three minutes. ETSU, led by guard Erica Haynes-Overton’s 41 points, stalked an upset in whittling the deficit to two inside the final minute.

However, Lady Vols Zaay Green, Rennia Davis and Rae Burrell combined to shoot five for six from the free throw line in the final 27 seconds to avoid the collapse. Green led UT with 17 points.

Despite the program’s rich tradition, Harper became the first UT women’s coach to win her first road since Mabel Miller guided UT past Cumberland (Ky.) on March 10, 1922.

* * *

Dan Fleser is a 1980 graduate of the University of Missouri who covered University of Tennessee athletics for the Knoxville News Sentinel from 1988-2019. He may be reached at danfleser3@gmail.com.


SEC Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

SOCON Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

Tazewell Speedway Hosts Round 2 Of Red Line Synthetic Oil UCRA $20,000 Championship Season

Southeastern Conference Basketball Standings as of games of: February 27, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: ... (click for more)

Southern Conference Basketball Standings a s of games of: February 27, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: (FINAL REGULAR SEASON ... (click for more)

A month from now the Tazewell Speedway in upper Eastern Tennessee north of Knoxville welcomes back the United Championship Racing Alliance 604/Crate series presented by Red Line Synthetic Oil ... (click for more)


SEC Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

Southeastern Conference Basketball Standings as of games of: February 27, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: Kentucky 13-2 23-5 Auburn 11-4 24-4 LSU 10-5 19-9 Florida 10-5 18-10 ... (click for more)

SOCON Basketball Standings, Results, Upcoming Schedule

Southern Conference Basketball Standings a s of games of: February 27, 2020 SCHOOL CONFERENCE OVERALL MEN: (FINAL REGULAR SEASON ETSU 15-2 26-4 Furman 14-3 24-6 UNCG 13-4 23-7 Western Carolina ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Jacob Coyne Denies That He Shot Jalen Little; Jury To Continue Deliberations On Friday

Jacob Coyne told a Criminal Court jury on Thursday he barely knew murder victim Jalen Little and did not shoot him. The jury in the courtroom of Judge Tom Greenholtz will resume deliberations on Friday morning in the case in which Coyne is charged with first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery. The March 2017 incident occurred at the Little residence on Oak Tree Drive. ... (click for more)

Severe Weather Might Rumble Through Southern U.S. During 1st Week Of March

Forecasters are putting out an early alert for the potential for severe thunderstorms to march across the southern United States next week. AccuWeather meteorologists say that although the exact severity and coverage of the thunderstorms will need to be ironed out in the coming days, the upcoming pattern next week bears close monitoring, specifically for residents from Texas ... (click for more)


Good Urban Design

Chattanooga is enjoying a robust movement to plan developments in a number of downtown neighborhoods, and there is good reason to believe that well designed development should be welcomed. The opposite is also true, that bad or poorly designed development should not be welcomed, especially if it seriously degrades the existing neighborhood. In the case of a sought after rezoning ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: AG Barr: What Has Happened To Us?

About 48 hours ago, William Barr, the Attorney General of the United States, delivered the keynote address at the 2020 National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Nashville at the Opryland complex. As many of you know, Barr has been the subject of heavy barrage in Washington and from The White House. In the last two weeks, over 2,000 Department of Justice types have, in a written ... (click for more)