UT Athletics Department
Auburn, AL – Tennessee rallied from double-digit deficit in the first half but could not come back in the second in a 83-77 loss at Auburn to open SEC play on Saturday at Auburn Arena.
Senior Kevin Punter Jr. matched his career high with 31 points to lead Tennessee (7-6, 0-1 SEC), marking the 10th time in 13 games that he has scored at least 20 points. Punter had entered the game averaging 22.2 points per game — the second-highest average in the SEC.
Freshman Admiral Schofield scored a career-high 22 points in his SEC debut.Schofield’s put up 19 shots in the game — more than double his previous season-high of seven — and knocked down two of UT’s three made 3-pointers on the afternoon. Schofield also finished with a season-best eight rebounds, including a team-high five on the offensive end.
Auburn (7-5, 1-0) was led by Kareem Canty and Bryce Brown, who each scored 20 points.
The Vols trailed by as many as 12 points early when Canty drained a 3-pointer to put Auburn ahead 22-10. Tennessee responded by scoring 11 unanswered points, cutting the lead to a point at 22-21 with a jumper by Punter with 6:36 left in the half.
Admiral Schofield put Tennessee ahead by halftime with 3-pointer to ease the Vols ahead 36-34.
Only four Vols scored in the first half, but it was enough to secure the halftime lead. Punter accounted for half the Vols’ points in the first half, scoring 18 points. Schofield added 11 points and five rebounds.
Auburn retook the lead in the first position of the second half. Brown hit a 3-pointer to put the Tigers ahead 37-36, and Auburn led the rest of the game, stretching its lead to as many as 11 points.
The Vols shot just 3-of-28 (.107) from the 3-point line at Auburn. The 28 attempts match the most 3-point field goals attempted by the Vols this season (28 vs. Garnder Webb, 11/22/15). Admiral Schofield (2-for-6) and Detrick Mostella (1-for-6) were the only Tennessee players to connect on 3-pointers.
Tennessee outrebounded Auburn by a final tally of 48-37. The Vols finished with 25 defensive rebounds and 23 boards on the offensive end. The 23 offensive rebounds are the second-most for Tennessee this season after finishing with 24 at Georgia Tech on November 16th, 2015. Those 23 offensive rebounds resulted in 19 second-chance points for the Vols.
Armani Moore was Tennessee’s leading rebounder, pulling in nine boards, and he has now led the Vols on the glass in three straight games. Admiral Schofield was UT’s best rebounder on the offensive end as five of his season-best eight boards resulted in second-chance opportunities for the Vols.
Auburn’s season-best for 3-pointers made this season was 17 against Northwestern State. The Tigers shot .531 from beyond the arc in that one.
Tennessee begins its home SEC schedule on Wednesday against Florida at 7:00pm at Thompson-Boling Arena. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN2. It will be the 129th meeting all-time between the two programs and Tennessee is 44-16 against UF in Knoxville, TN.