Williams leads No. 6 Vols past Louisiana-Lafayette 87-65
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Grant Williams scored 31 points, pulled down 10 rebounds and showcased his newfound 3-point range Friday as No. 6 Tennessee breezed to an 87-65 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Williams shot 3 of 4 from beyond the arc to match his 2017-18 season total for 3-pointers. The 6-foot-7 forward was 3 of 25 on 3-point attempts last season, though he still averaged 15.2 points and was selected by Southeastern Conference coaches as the league’s player of the year.
He shot 11 of 15 overall to lead five Tennessee players in double figures.
Admiral Schofield had 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Tennessee (2-0). Kyle Alexander, Jordan Bone and Jordan Bowden added 10 points each. Bone also matched a career high with eight assists.
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JaKeenan Gant scored 18 points, Marcus Stroman had 11 and Justin Miller added 10 for Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1).
Tennessee took the lead for good less than seven minutes into the game during a 20-2 run that turned a 13-10 deficit into a 30-15 advantage.
The spurt started when Williams found Bone for an open 3-pointer. Williams then scored the next six points.
Williams provided the biggest scare of the night for Tennessee midway through the first half when he was slow to get up after taking a big fall during an unsuccessful drive and dunk attempt. But he walked to the bench during the ensuing timeout and only missed about a minute before getting back on the floor.
Louisiana-Lafayette is testing itself early as it tries to build off a 2017-18 season in which it went 27-7 and won the Sun Belt regular-season title. The Ragin’ Cajuns follow this trip to Knoxville by visiting No. 1 Kansas on Nov. 16.
After missing a season-opening 86-41 victory over Lenoir-Rhyne with a hamstring injury, Tennessee guard Jalen Johnson returned to action Friday on his 21st birthday and played four minutes. Tennessee continued to play without guard Lamonte’ Turner (shoulder) and forward Zach Kent (knee).
Louisiana-Lafayette: This game and the trip to Kansas will give the Ragin’ Cajuns a good idea of where they need to improve as they attempt to replace three of their top four scorers from last year’s team. Gant, whose 13.7 points per game ranked second on the team last year, showed Friday he could play at any level.
Tennessee: The Vols shot 54 percent from the floor Friday after shooting 56.7 percent against Lenoir-Rhyne. The schedule gets tougher next week as Tennessee hosts Georgia Tech before heading to the NIT Season Tip-Off in New York. Tennessee plays Louisville in its first NIT game before facing either Kansas or Marquette.
Louisiana-Lafayette is at No. 1 Kansas on Nov. 16.
Tennessee hosts Georgia Tech on Tuesday.
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