A terrible first half of basketball and horrendous free throw shooting led to a disappointing night for Cuonzo Martin and his Volunteer basketball team. Tennessee traveled to Cincinnati to take on Xavier on Tuesday night for their season opener and could not get much going offensively in their 67-63 loss to the Musketeers.
The Vols could only muster 20 points in the first half, of which Jordan McRae had 13. Jarnell Stokes only played 3 first half minutes, as he picked up 2 quick fouls. Stokes eventually fouled out with only 4 points and 4 rebounds. Jeronne Maymon made his return for the Vols, and he looked like a man who had not played in over a year.
The scoring picked up in the second half, but the Vols continued to struggle with consistency. Jordan McRae did not get into a scoring groove until late in the second half and almost brought UT all the way back from 9 points down. McRae finished with 23 points and 5 assists, transfer Antonio Barton finished with 10 points and 4 assists, and Josh Richardson provided 13 points. The Muskateers were led by Semoj Christon with 18 points and Matt Stainbrook with 12 points and 9 rebounds.
These two teams could see each other later on this month, as they will compete in the Battle for Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Tennessee starts the season 0-1 and will host South Carolina Upstate on Saturday. Xavier improves to 2-0 and will take on Morehead State on Friday.