Richardson, Tennessee outlast Texas Southern 70-58
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee won new coach Donnie Tyndall's home debut the same way so many of his best teams have succeeded.
The Volunteers wore their opponent down with pressure.
Josh Richardson had 19 points and eight rebounds Thursday as Tennessee pulled away for a 70-58 victory over Texas Southern.
''I thought in the second half, our press kind of wore them down a little bit, caused some turnovers,'' Tyndall said. ''We always use the term (to) take their legs. In the last eight or 10 minutes of the game, we want to take their legs so they're not making as many jump shots, they miss some free throws because of fatigue.''
Tennessee (1-1) won its 23rd consecutive home opener and avoided its first 0-2 start since 1965-66. Tennessee had opened the season Friday with an 85-69 loss to No. 15 VCU at Annapolis, Maryland.
''I think it took a monkey off our back, so we don't have to be worried about how long it's going to take till we get that first win and be so worried about it,'' said Richardson, one of only four returning scholarship players from the team that reached an NCAA regional semifinal last season. ''Now we've got one, so we need to go get some more.''
Kevin Punter added 13 points, Armani Moore scored 11 and Willie Carmichael had 10 for Tennessee. Punter and Richardson each shot 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
David Blanks scored 14 points, Deverell Biggs had 12 and Chris Thomas added 11 for Texas Southern (0-3).
Texas Southern hung with Tennessee for much of the night and actually led 41-40 when Tonnie Collier's 3-pointer capped an 8-0 run with 13:21 left. Tennessee went ahead for good on Punter's 3-pointer with 12:14 remaining and later put the game away with a 24-9 spurt.
''You have to give them a lot of credit,'' Texas Southern coach Mike Davis said. ''When they juiced it up just a little bit, it was enough to kind of rattle us.''
Tyndall moved Carmichael and freshman forward Jabari McGhee into the starting lineup Thursday. McGhee had played just 12 minutes and Carmichael was on the floor for only four minutes against VCU.
Carmichael's energy provided immediate dividends. The 6-foot-8 freshman had seven rebounds to go along with his 10 points, and he also had a highlight-worthy block in the first half that led to a Punter 3-pointer.
''That's basically the role Coach Tyndall wants me to play,'' Carmichael said. ''He compared me to Kenneth Faried. I basically go in and rebound, run the floor and just try to make my teammates better.''
Texas Southern: Four of Texas Southern's five starters were transfers from other Division I programs: Biggs (Nebraska), Nick Shepherd (Long Beach State), Thomas (Marshall) and Nevin Johnson (Creighton).
Tennessee: The Vols committed only eight turnovers Thursday after having 19 turnovers in the loss to VCU.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
The trip to Knoxville was part of a busy early itinerary for Texas Southern. The Tigers are at home just once - Nov. 28 against Lamar - in their first 16 games.
Texas Southern: The Tigers are playing without injured guard Madarious Gibbs and forwards Jose Rodriguez and Jason Carter. Davis said all three might be starting if they were healthy.
Tennessee: The Vols were missing sophomore center Dominic Woodson due to a hand injury. Woodson had four points and five rebounds in 20 minutes against VCU.
Texas Southern: At Norfolk State on Saturday.
Tennessee: Faces Santa Clara on Nov. 27 in the Orlando Classic in Orlando, Florida.