Key’s 17 leads No. 11 Volunteers over Tennessee Tech 75-43

Nov 7, 2022, 4:04 AM | Updated: 7:21 pm
Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi (25) drives past Tennessee Tech guard Ty Perry (0) during the firs...

Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi (25) drives past Tennessee Tech guard Ty Perry (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

              Tennessee Tech guard Jayvis Harvey (13) drives against Tennessee forward Julian Phillips (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee guard Zakai Zeigler (5) drives against Tennessee Tech guard Erik Oliver (12) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Tech guard Jayvis Harvey (13) grabs a pass as he's defended by Tennessee forward Julian Phillips (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee guard Josiah-Jordan James (30) shoots past Tennessee Tech center Nolan Causwell (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee Tech guard Erik Oliver (12) looks to shoot as he's defended by Tennessee guard Tyreke Key (4) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
            
              Tennessee guard Santiago Vescovi (25) drives past Tennessee Tech guard Ty Perry (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tyreke Key came off the bench to score 17 points and lead No. 11 Tennessee to a 75-43 victory over Tennessee Tech in the season opener for both teams Monday night.

Key, an Indiana State transfer, connected on 4 of 8 3-pointers to ignite a sluggish Volunteer offense. Zakai Zeigler scored all but two of his 12 points in the second half.

“I felt comfortable,” said Key, who sat out last season with an injury. “I got in rhythm early. Being a spark off the bench is great.”

Key had three steals to go with his point production.

“(What Key did) is not a surprise,” Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said. “His demeanor never changes. He’s been everything we thought he could be. He can be more.”

Tennessee hit 10 of 23 3-pointers in the second half to overcome a rough start in front of 17,957 fans.

“If we’re open, we’re going to take shots,” Barnes said. “We adjust to what our players are good at. We can shoot the ball.”

Brett Thompson led the Golden Eagles with 15 points.

Barnes was upset with his team’s meager 37-28 edge on the boards. However, the fast pace of play pleased the veteran coach.

“We want to make our depth a factor,” Barnes said. “Pace is really important to us.”

Vols guard Santiago Vescovi had nine points, eight rebounds and five assists.

Tennessee struggled in the first half and built an 11-point lead at 27-16. The Vols shot 31% (9 of 29) from the field and 19% (4 of 21) from 3-point. Key led the way with 11 points.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

In a pay-per-view exhibition against preseason No. 2 Gonzaga in late October, the Vols were quite impressive. The halftime score was tight, but Tennessee ran away with a 99-80 victory. Since it didn’t count, it leaves a question: Will/should that factor into the voting consideration for next week’s first poll of the season?

BIG PICTURE

Tennessee Tech: The experience Tennessee Tech can gain from a quality opponent like Tennessee can pay off throughout the season. Measuring itself against one of the best in the country gives an idea of what to focus on down the road.

Tennessee: Solidifying the rotation is imperative for Rick Barnes. When Josiah-Jordan James missed both exhibitions while offseason knee surgery healed, the Vols played well against Michigan State in a closed scrimmage and Gonzaga in an exhibition. Add in a preseason All-SEC player like James and the Vols should be even better.

UP NEXT

Tennessee Tech: At home against Tennessee Wesleyan on Thursday.

Tennessee: A “neutral site” game against Colorado on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) drives past Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura (28) dur...
Associated Press

Irving has 26, Nets beat Lakers 121-104 as James, Davis sit

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving had 26 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 121-104 victory Monday night over the Los Angeles Lakers, who played without LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Irving had scored 30 or more in a career-best six straight games but didn’t have to carry […]
20 hours ago
Orlando Magic's Markelle Fultz goes up for a dunk during the second half of an NBA basketball game ...
Associated Press

Banchero, Magic rally from early hole, beat 76ers 119-109

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Paolo Banchero had 29 points and 10 rebounds as the Orlando Magic stormed back from a 21-point first-quarter deficit to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-109 on Monday night. Mo Wagner scored 22 points and his younger brother Franz Wagner scored 19 for the Magic, who stopped a three-game skid and ended the […]
20 hours ago
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy leaves the field after the NFC Championship NFL footbal...
Associated Press

AP source: 49ers’ Purdy has torn ligament in right elbow

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy tore a ligament in his throwing elbow, putting his status for the start of next season in question. A person familiar with the injury confirmed the diagnosis of the injury Purdy sustained in the NFC title game. The person spoke on condition of anonymity […]
20 hours ago
FILE - Australia's Sam Kerr (20) scores against Sweden's Nathalie Bjorn (14) during their women's f...
Associated Press

Australia’s Women’s World Cup opener moved to bigger venue

Australia’s Women’s World Cup opener against Ireland has been moved to a larger stadium amid high demand for tickets. Australia’s opener was originally set to be played at Sydney’s new Allianz Stadium, which seats 42,500, but it has been shifted to Stadium Australia, which seats more than 82,000. Stadium Australia, the former Olympic stadium, will […]
20 hours ago
Associated Press

Judge denies LIV plea to expand discovery to Augusta members

A federal judge denied a request by LIV Golf to expand discovery in its antitrust lawsuit against the PGA Tour to include communication with 10 Augusta National members, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. LIV Golf had issued subpoenas to five PGA Tour board members and Tim Finchem, the retired PGA Tour commissioner. It […]
20 hours ago
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts reacts after the NFC Championship NFL football game bet...
Associated Press

Eagles’ Super Bowl-bound Hurts still trying to quiet haters

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Nick Sirianni and his kids made snow angels in the confetti on the Linc turf. Jalen Hurts puffed on a cigar alone at his locker and scrolled through the congratulatory texts on his phone. Out in the Philly streets, delirious fans refused to let grease slow them down as they slithered toward […]
20 hours ago
Key’s 17 leads No. 11 Volunteers over Tennessee Tech 75-43