Tennessee's offense surged in the second half, as the 15th-ranked Vols took down Tennessee Tech, 80-69, Friday afternoon at Thompson-Boling Arena.
The Vols (4-1) shot 17-of-28 (.607) in the second half, including 4-of-8 (.500) from deep to propel themselves to victory. Olivier Nkamhoua was a perfect 6-for-6 in the second half and 8-for-8 for the game. Of his team-high 18 points, 13 came in the second half. Santiago Vescovi joined him in double-digits for the second half, scoring 11 of his 13 points in the final stanza.
Kennedy Chandler, John Fulkerson and Brandon Huntley-Hatfield also scored in double figures for the game with 15, 14 and 12, respectively. Huntley-Hatfield's 12 points marked a career-high by way of 6-for-7 shooting.
Chandler jolted energy into the crowd of 16,909 at Thompson-Boling Arena, throwing down a pair of breakaway dunks in the second half—the latter of which gave Tennessee its largest lead of the game at the time at 64-51. The Vols jumped ahead by way of a 15-4 run spanning 7:38 in the middle portion of the second half. Huntley-Hatfield accounted for seven of those points.
After trailing at halftime, the Tennessee offense came out firing in the second half, courtesy of a pair of Vescovi 3-pointers. UT struggled from deep in the first half, making only 2-of-15 (.133) from beyond the arc.
The Vols utilized a relentless scoring effort close to the basket to jump ahead, as Tennessee outscored the Golden Eagles, 48-32, in the paint.
The Vols forced TTU into 19 turnovers and had 11 steals. Chandler posted five steals and has totaled eight in his last two games at Thompson-Boling Arena, while Vescovi added three and has four straight games with multiple steals. Tennessee has already recorded three games this season with double-digit steals after having just eight total in each of the last two seasons combined. Around the glass, Huntley-Hatfield tallied two blocks, while Chandler and Fulkerson each notched one.
After the teams battled back and forth during the first half, Tennessee Tech took a 35-34 lead into halftime on a Jr. Clay 3-pointer at the buzzer. The Vols led by as many as seven points, but were unable to pull away.
Clay was Tech's leading scorer, finishing with a game-high 19 points.
UP NEXT: Tennessee will be back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 30, as it hosts Presbyterian at Thompson-Boling Arena with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at AllVols.com.
NKAMHOUA SHOWING RANGE: Olivier Nkamhoua shot 2-for-2 from 3-point range on Friday, improving his season total to 6-for-8 from long range. Nkamhoua entered this season just 1-for-5 in his Tennessee career from beyond the arc.
VESS-CO-VEE FOR THREE: With three 3-pointers during the win, Santiago Vescovi has now made three or more 3-pointers in 20 of his 51 career games as a Vol. Vescovi is shooting .370 from beyond the arc this season.