Tennessee blew open a close game with a 12-2 run to open the second half as it downed Austin Peay State University, 83-54, in non-conference basketball action played Friday night at Thompson-Boling Arena.
It was the season opener for both teams.
Austin Peay trailed by as much as 17 first-half points but used a 13-2 rally, sparked by a zone defense, near half’s end to cut the deficit to six, 31-25. Additionally, a pair of sophomores also charged the Govs offense—point guard Tyrone Caldwell scored six points, including a three pointer and a traditional three-point play, and forward Anthony Campbell added five, including a long three pointer.
But No. 10 Tennessee adjusted their offense to APSU’s zone early in the second half as senior forward Tyler Smith, an All-America candidate, scored eight of the first nine points to put the game at 40-25. It wasn’t until 15:40 mark of the second half that APSU scored its first points, a jumper from freshman Chris Reaves.
But the Volunteers’ Cameron Tatum then sandwiched a pair of three pointers around Campbell’s three pointer to Tennessee up by 17, 58-41. That deficit was too much for the young Govs to overcome battling a much taller and physical Volunteer team that wore down APSU in the final 10 minutes to build a more comfortable lead.
Campbell led all scorers with 17 points, going 7 of 12 from the floor, while senior guard Wes Channels added 13 and Caldwell 11. Channels also the led the Govs’ rebounding efforts with eight as APSU was dominated 46-33 on the glass.
The Governors shot just 34.5 percent (19 of 55) from the floor compared to Tennessee’s 49.3 percent (34 of 69).
Scott Hopson, who nailed four three pointers, led Tennessee’s efforts with 16 points while Tatum, who had a trio of three pointers, had 15. Smith finished with a double-double, scoring 14 points and 11 rebounds, as did Wayne Chism, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds.
The Governors will return to action, 1 p.m., Sunday when they travel to Akron to face the Zips, defending Mid-American tourney champions and the strong favorite to win the league in 2009-10.